Page 1


MARCH 2012

The gardening bug pg 3 Rural entranceways pg 8 Horsin’ around: Breeding your own foal pg 12 Wetland restoration on a shoestring: Part II pg 6


Good for some...

At this time of year ground is usually starting to soften up and we can start thinking about tackling the garden but let’s face it, when has the ground been really hard this summer? In this issue, Helen Martin tells a very entertaining story about the allure of gardening in The Gardening Bug. If you are contemplating restoring a wetland, now would be a good time to start. Right now our wetland area is very soft around the edges, making conditions ideal for planting. The good

all of you who keep the practice going… and it also tells us you value what we write about. Until next time, have a Happy Easter.

Security around rural properties is always and issue and installing automated gates and entrance ways are becoming an increasingly popular way to protect property. When you read our feature on this you might be surprised at how much the technology has improved to make things more affordable.

Neville Walker – Editor & Publisher Visit for a FREE subscription

Do keep feeding back to us what you do and don’t like in the magazine. We have received very positive feedback from readers about our equine columns written by Sandy Reid and Ben Longwell (of True West Horsemanship) and the series is continuing. In this issue, Sandy talks you through the things you need to consider when deciding to breed and raise a foal.

Letters or enquiries to Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle, RD Marketing Ltd, RD1, Kaukapakapa. Phone 09 947 3580. Email: Advertising enquiries: Marlene Brown 021-854-946 Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle ©2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without permission of the publisher is prohibited. No responsibility accepted for any direct or indirect consequences arising from reliance on any content within Rodney’s Rural Lifestyle. Editor: Neville Walker. Sub Editor: Helen Martin. Writers this issue: Helen Martin, Neville Walker, Sandy Reid. Cover photo: Helen Martin - Water lily. Designer: Dan Stenhouse, Bgraphix. Printing: PMP maxim.

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The amount of rain we’ve had for summer has played havoc with planning to get the hay contractors in. At time of writing another low pressure system is passing through and we’re hoping for 3 or 4 good days of sunshine on the other side of it to get our hay done. On the other hand, this has to be one of the best seasons for dairy, sheep and beef for many years and that’s good for our economy.

news is that I’ve discovered an easier, more environmentally friendly method of wetland weed control. Take a look at Restoring a Wetland on a Shoestring for an update on the story in our December issue.

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The gardening By Helen Martin



Non-gardeners don’t get it.

sooo much work!” and, pointedly, “I couldn’t live with all those weeds” or, even more bluntly “I’m so glad I’m not you!” A few are undoubtedly locked into their own form of hobby madness – philately, Extreme Morris Dancing, breeding rare crustaceans – but most appear obsession-free, recoiling in horror at the thought of being driven by a relentless task master. Well, good luck to them. We like being hooked.

This was brought vividly home to us the time a non-gardening visitor stood in the depths of our garden when it was bursting with gorgeous spring growth and asked, “But why?” We’ve noticed that, increasingly, non-gardening friends arrive with an ‘injury’ or ‘allergy’ which means they can’t go for a garden walk, forcing them to spend the afternoon shooting the breeze on the deck, a glass of wine in one hand, a sausage in the other. Sometimes the hapless souls who do venture out can be heard muttering “It’s

Gardeners get it, of course. Rather than finding us ‘gardening bores’ (as we suspect we are now regarded by our non-gardening friends) gardeners who visit, most of whom know a lot more than us, are happy to spend hours deep in discussion about the minutiae of lavender propagation, wandering willie elimination, the evils of blight and the growing habits of the lesser-spotted hebe. In fact we rely on their input, just as we rely on Google, gardening magazines and our growing collection of gardening books to show us the way.

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Bromeliads and succulants.

Keith in a vege patch.

The best teacher, of course, is experience

native bush, exotic gardens, orchards

and in the 9 years we’ve been planting

and vegetable gardens and, with that

and tending our garden we’ve learned

accomplished, to live happily ever after

much about patience while greatly

looking after it all. Because we like things

increasing our knowledge of good plant

fluid we make it up as we go along, but

selection, soil health, successful planting

we’ve got better at making good choices

methods, feeding requirements, pruning,

– like planting grasses where they’ll get

propagating, greenhouse management,

full light or, a hard lesson to learn, saying

pest control, weather effects and the

no to plants that may be beautiful but

habits of bees. Which is not to claim that

are determinedly invasive (we’re living

we know a lot, or that we don’t have so

to regret the wachendorfia, for example,

much more to learn, but merely to note

planted before we knew what we were

that at least we’re on the path to ‘growing

doing and romping away in the swamp as


though the hounds of Hell are after it).

Our loose plan at the start was to turn

We’ve had a few setbacks (Keith chain

our 1.6 hectares of kikuyu into areas of

sawing his leg, the roof blowing off a tool

shed, an entire crop of apples stolen by pukekos, crops of tomatoes lost to blight, decimation of our beehive) but we’ve learned what country people have always known, that those things pass. We love the fresh, leafy smell of the garden when the dew is still on it in the morning. We love the gossiping of the tuis living in the gum trees across the swamp. We love the sharp bite of the kauri and totara leaves as we brush against them in our little patch of bush and we love the delicious taste of the biggest, juiciest peaches we have ever grown. And as for the pleasures of looking at our garden – well, we can never get enough.

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Wetland restoration on a shoestring: By Neville Walker

part II

In December we wrote about embarking on restoring our wetland area. At present our wetland area is thickly covered with willow weed and some flax, birch trees, and willow trees. Spraying out the weeds has been extremely difficult, due to wind and rain, so putting the spray programme aside, I have been clearing away the edges of the soggy areas by hand and have now begun planting. In Lawrie Metcalf’s The Cultivation of New Zealand I read that Baumea articulata can be planted in shallow water near the edge of a pond and grows to around 180cm. I’m starting with this plant as it will suit the water’s edge up to where the willow weed is rampant, is easily sourced, suits the area and looks nice as it softens the edges. It spreads easily, so I’ll place it well back from the water’s edge. As for the willow weed – a brilliant, environmentally friendly

method of clearing this pest, and one that doesn’t require gumboots for removing by hand and Voltarin for my back afterwards, is to release grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) into the water. Since the 60s, Grass Carp in NZ have been used almost entirely in large water bodies controlled by Councils and Government agencies. Unable to breed in the wild in NZ, they are now commercially farmed here. DOC currently classify them as a ‘restricted’ species but they are quite unlike the closely related Koi Carp, which can breed in the wild and have become a ‘pest fish’ problem. Originally from China where they are harvested for their flesh, all the Grass Carp in New Zealand are now reared and managed

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by one company, NZ Waterways Restoration Ltd, which is based near Warkworth. Because the fish are leased rather than sold, the controlled operation of every waterway and pond can be individually managed with the correct stocking rate of fish. Fish can be added, removed or harvested from a waterway to achieve an environmentally-balanced end result. Grass Carp have proven to be effective and long term they provide a very attractive alternative to herbicides or clearing the weeds by hand or mechanically. Amazingly, they can grow to 30kg and are capable of consuming an amazing 40% – 300% of their body mass per day of plant material, depending on their age and size. They don’t become active feeders until pond temperatures are above 7- 8 deg C (most of the year in our region) with more intensive feeding happening above 20 deg C. The number of Grass Carp introduced into a lake or pond depends upon the size of the aquatic plant problem. In our case it would appear that once we have mechanically removed the willows and birch from the wetland area and increased the water depth to around 30cm - 50cm over a wider area, all we would need are 5 carp to keep the pond area clear of the weed. These would be sustained easily with re-growth. The cost for this quantity of Carp would be just $200 plus a oneoff Dept of Conservation licence fee for the site (which is around $1200 and irrespective the number of fish involved). For more details about the suitability to your situation have a talk with Blair at NZ Waterways Restoration (see advert below).

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entranceways By Neville Walker

Automated driveway gates have become an increasingly popular enhancement to rural homes. They are elegant and convenient, while adding security by closing a property off to unwanted visitors.

Security In rural areas, as all country people know, security is a big issue. Rural homes are a popular target for thieves, many of whom come from out of town knowing that homes are often some distance from police and security monitoring services as well as from neighbours. Many lifestyle property owners work away from the home during the day, leaving long periods for thieves to both plan and execute their robberies. Gates can keep unwanted visitors’ vehicles some distance from the house, allowing them to be visible to passers-by and making access to the house more difficult. Gate automation adds increased security as it ensures your gates can’t be opened by intruders. Along with this goes the convenience of being able to open and close the gate automatically behind you, making it less likely that you will leave the gate open.

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homes for some time, but automation for driveway entrances on rural properties has been expensive and often unreliable in the past. Now that gate automation is becoming increasingly popular, the costs have come down considerably and larger manufacturers have recognised the needs of a growing rural lifestyle market. Merlin are owned by The Chamberlain Group Inc, the world's largest manufacturer of residential and commercial door operators, access control products and gate operators and have long been known in New Zealand for secure, convenient, reliable garage door opening and closing. Merlin are now releasing a new range of gate automation products designed by their engineers and tested in local conditions. The range conforms to the highest standards, meeting or exceeding safety standards (UL325) and requirements.

Single linear leaf swing, two leaf swing or sliding Sliding gates provide a good alternative for small yards or those with restricted road access, but have plenty of space laterally to allow for sideways retraction. Lightweight aluminium sliding gates make this a very cost effective option for entrances that won’t allow for swing gates. Swing gate

openers are commonly used and cater for rural entranceways that won’t allow for a large degree of lateral movement or where sliding gates aren’t desirable. I asked Chris Smith of Oikoumene Forest (see back page) to give me some idea of costs of an automated gate system, bearing in mind that every property’s driveway entrance is different and the needs of owners differ. Chris explained that with Merlin’s product range Oikoumene can now offer some very inexpensive options to automate existing gates from around $2000 (installed). The addition of a galvanised steel farm gate would add only $250. You could opt for the higher quality entrance gates in aluminium or macrocarpa for around another $1500. Andrew Jones of Kumeu recently had this to say after recently having an automated gates installed by Oikoumene. “We live down a long R.O.W. which splits into two and vehicles often used to venture into our drive and peer in at the house before turning around to go back up the drive. Now that automated gates have been installed we don’t feel so exposed and our house is more private and secure. It’s really been worth the investment”.



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Breeding your own By Sandy Reid


Your favourite old mare is getting on a bit so you think you might like to breed a foal from her. But before you take the plunge there are a few things to consider. Research shows that it is best for your mare to have its first foal before she is fourteen years old. (Having said this, my retired showjumping mare is having her first foal in a few weeks at twenty-three years. She will have to be carefully monitored and fed really well as this is not ideal). Selecting a stallion needs careful consideration. Temperament should be at the top of your list as you need to be able to handle your foal. Conformation faults (see reference sites below) in your mare can often be carried over to your foal so choosing a stallion to counter these may help with this. If you are looking to breed

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a good steady all-rounder then look for a station bred/crossbred stallion with a good temperament. If your ideal is a grand prix show jumper, eventer or dressage horse and your mare is suitable then perhaps you might go the chilled/frozen semen way of international bloodlines? This is a considerable expense, so you really need to have in mind what sort of animal you wish to breed and for what purpose. Stud fees can range from $500 to well over $3000, depending on how well bred/performed the stallion is. Fees are to be paid once the mare is scanned in foal (another cost). Most studs have a live

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foal guarantee (LFG), meaning that if the foal is born dead you are entitled to a free return service to the stallion. While your mare is away at stud there are also agistment costs (feeding/ grazing fees etc) and possibly vet fees to be taken into account. If you don’t have much experience handling young horses it is worth considering taking one or two horse training clinics. Your foal when it is weaned will need to be taught to tie-up, lead, have its legs handled and load into a float or truck. This is all before it is ready to be started or broken in. Your foal will probably be at least 3 years old before you can ride it. You need to factor in the fact that it will need feeding and worming and its feet will need trimming during that time. It will probably be around 5/6 years old before it is ready to be ridden. If you have weighed up all the pros and cons and still want to breed that foal, I can say from personal experience the satisfaction and thrill that come from breeding, training and ultimately competing your very own horse is unbeatable. Good Luck!

Reference sites for conformation: Well worth the effort.

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Have your Water Tank or Septic Tank cleaned for Summer.


Phone Nick-Ton Rombouts on 021 111 6593 for a FREE no obligation verbal quote.





Homekill & Game Meat Processing Sheep * Beef * Pork * Venison * Wild Pork * Wild Goat


Ph 09 412 9210 or 0274 924 494


Horse Trucks & Floats Rebuilds • Conversions

Wild meats and game are a speciality and we can process, pack & freeze to suit. NZ AWARD WINNING SAUSAGE MAKERS

Rebuilding • Converting • Refitting • Repainting • Rubber mat supply Window supply & fitting • Lighting • Ramp springs • Quality workmanship

Reid Equestrian Engineering - Wellsford For a free quote phone Ron or Sandy 09 423 9666 evenings or 021 157 9669

Garden and Lifestyle Block Specialists - Plant Centre - Plant Nursery - Landscape Design - Planting - Re-vegetation - Fruit tree specialists We grow a huge range of plants suitable for the Auckland region Book a detailed site assessment and report now for only $195 Enjoy our garden centre, and take a walk on our 1km sculpture and garden trail. Over 60 sculptures by leading NZ artists. 2012 exhibition now on.

1481 Kaipara Coast Highway, Kaukapakapa ph 09 420 5655 open 7 days 9am to 5pm

Open 7 days 9am to 5pm Established 1988

24hr Emergency Service Qualified Arborist

Specialists in: Fine Pruning, Rose, Tree & Shrubs, Hedge Pruning, Tree

Removal, Crown Reduction, Branch Chipping, Stump Grinding, Land Clearing. $5mil Public Liability. Pensioner Discounts • Free Quotes

Phone Matt (09) 426 7912 or 021 124 6478 email:

Need Sales? Talk to us now... Deadline for April issue is 30 March. Deadline for May issue is 27 April. For rates and availability, email or phone 09 947 3580 / 021 377 580 or Marlene on 021 854 946. Don’t delay – space is limited.

Anti-Vibe Lateral Chain Tension 450mm Sprocket Nosed Bar Fast Acceleration nly o AUTOMATED ENTRANCEWAYS m o r f Easy Start DCS4610 Merlin Automation components are designed and tested for NZ’s 2.6kw demanding conditions. $


We’ll custom-make to your requirements from Macrocarpa, cedar, kwila, aluminium or steel.


Brush Cutter Petrol 4 Strok

High Performance Light Weight Reduced Exhaust Emissions $ Easy Starting Loop Handle EBH25 Envionmentally Friendly 25.4cc


HURRICANE FENCING Fencing Staples 5kg Pale 30x3.15mm Zinc DEALS 50x4mm Zinc



Sheep fence 8/90/30 staytight 100m $308.20



1.65m waratah



1.8m waratah



5kg 50x4.0 barbed staples



5kg 100x4.0 galv flat head nails



10m 50mmx 900mm chicken mesh







7/4/09 mesh 1:08:04 10m 19mmx900mm chicken

1484 Oikoumene Forest Letterhead.pdf

3.66m light Barred Gate




Fencing Staples 25kg Pale



St, Helensville 30x3.15mm Zinc1Tel:West 0800 833 399 09 420 8476 50x4mm Zinc Fax: Email:




Easter Weekend Hours: Closed Friday. Open Saturday 8am - 4pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday. Back to normal hours Wednesday. Normal Hours: Monday- Friday 7am - 5pm. Saturday 8am - 4pm. Sunday Summer Hours 9am-12pm Offer valid until 30 April 2012 or while stocks last. All prices include G.S.T.

Issue 53 March 2012  
Issue 53 March 2012  

The gardening bug, Rural entranceways, Horsin’ around: Breeding your own foal, Wetland restoration on a shoestring: Part II