Hannah Zwartz is the Council’s Green Gardener. She offers community visits – free advice on planting, shelter, irrigation, fruit trees, rainwater/greywater systems or any other gardening issues – and free 1 to 2 hour workshops on a range of topics:

  • Nutrient recycling (compost, worm farming and liquid manure)
  • Building a biodigester: What do you do with pernicious weeds that can’t be composted (like wandering willie, convolvulus, oxalis and kikuyu)? Find out how to liquefy them and transform them into mineral-rich fertiliser using a simple double-barrelled bio-digester made from two plastic drums.
  • Crop rotation and companion planting
  • Seed sowing
  • Basic permaculture design
  • Basic seed saving (best in autumn)
  • Green manures, mulch and no-dig (usually autumn)
  • Fruit pruning/companions (winter)
  • Top ten herbs for Kāpiti
  • Seasonal crops (i.e. spring – greens, peas; summer – tomatoes, pumpkins etc; autumn – broad beans and peas; winter – garlic)
  • Growing plants from cuttings
  • Natural pest and disease control
  • Growing great citrus

Other workshops aside from those listed can also be developed, e.g. shelter, so ask if there is a particular issue affecting your neighbourhood.

Advice is available online at Green Gardener section of On To It: Sustainability News, or call the Council Service Centre on 296 4700 or 0800 486 486.

She also has regular slots in the Kapiti Observer every second Thursday, on Beach FM 106.3 every second Thursday at 11.30am, and in the e-bulletin On To It (subscribe through the Council website).  Contact:


If you’re interested in permaculture,  the Kāpiti Coast District Libraries Sustainable Living book list has a section that covers lots of aspects of gardening.

There are also some permaculture films available to view at Top Documentaries:

Edible Backyard is Kath Irvine’s website. She teaches permaculture design and edible gardening to schools and community groups and promotes a series of workshops run from her home garden in Ohau. She also puts out a monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to via her website.

Permaculture in New Zealand has various forums and a resources page with reading materials and links to other permaculture sites in NZ and overseas.

Community gardening


Seedy Sunday is a relaxed gathering for those in Kāpiti who garden, or want to learn about gardening, growing food and sustainability, to share ideas and inspiration. Each gathering also has an exchange table is for the sharing of ‘useful’ seeds, plants and produce (meaning edible plants and support species, including pretty flowers).

Good magazine has a map of community gardens across NZ and list of gardens with website links or pdf information where available. There’s bound to be something of interest for those who want to look at gardening as a street or setting up a community orchard.

Locally, community gardens exist in Rainbow Court, Raumati South (set up as part of Greenest Street 2010/11) and along berms in Paekākāriki.

The Matai Road Community Garden is a thriving example of what’s possible. They hold regular Green Gardener workshops and working bees. For regular updates follow their facebook page.

Grow Sheffield: Urban Food Growing Landscapes is an active network of individuals and groups promoting urban organic food growing. Beautiful and interesting site with an artistic bent, in particular:

  • ALLOTMENT SOUP is an annual creative and artistic harvest celebration. The aim of the event is to celebrate food growing and allotment culture.
  • ABUNDANCE is a project to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit.

Incredible Edible Todmorden aims to increase the amount of local food grown and eaten in the town. Businesses, schools, farmers and the community are all involved. Projects include transforming public flower beds into community herb gardens and vegetable patches, community orchards, working with public bodies – like the fire station and churches – to use their land, a campaign to encourage the production and consumption of local eggs, and supporting local growers and farmers. You can hear Chris Laidlaw interview one of the projects’ founders for Radio New Zealand’s Ideas programme on 9 May 2010 here.

Community Fruit Wellington are a small food charity facilitating the picking and redistribution of unwanted or excess fruit to those in need in our community. They pick and distribute in the Kapiti area too.

American Community Gardening Association has many printable articles and tip sheets covering different topics related to community gardening, garden organising, general gardening and horticulture.

OOOOBY (Out Of Our Own Backyards) (NZ) has lots of interest groups/discussion like Poultry in Urbania, Growing By the Moon, Seed Collecting, Worm Farming, Seasonal Recipes, Companion Planting, Organic Gardening for Beginners, Preserving, Herbs, Pruning….

Articles and skills

Organic New Zealand share their  knowledge of organic gardening and sustainable living to encourage others to live more organically. See website for information and resources.

Organic Garden Calendar for Kapiti to Manawatu, by Kath Irvine, is a month-by-month guide to organic gardening in our area. Published by the Levin Branch of the Soil & Health Association it is available from Commonsense Organics in Paraparaumu or through Levin Soil & Health.

Get Growing is an initiative of New Zealand Gardener editor, Lynda Hallinan. A free weekly email newsletter, it includes hints, tips and weekend tasks – whether you’re a beginner gardener or an expert grower.  It also includes competitions, recipes, events, requests for particular plants or seeds and answers to your vege growing questions. To receive Get Growing, sign up via the NZ Gardener website or send an email to . An archive of past newsletters can be found on the NZ Gardener website.

Create Your Own Eden covers three elements of composting: traditional composting using a heap or bin; vermiculture or Worm Farming; and Bokashi.

Organic Pathways provide an online guide and marketplace for organics in New Zealand. Includes a gardening page with a broad range of articles.

Best Gardening is quite an old-style gardening website, but has some useful stuff in the ‘Organic’ section.

Homegrown is an American site created by Farm Aid, which “celebrates all of us who pioneer a HOMEGROWN way to eat, grow, and express ourselves. We connect to the land and to each other.” Hosts some good writing.

Seeds, tools and trees

Edible Garden has a great catalogue of fruit trees, including Koanga heritage varieties, with very helpful information on each.

Anna Butterfield of LovePlantLife grows and sells a range of useful seeds – food and flowers – right here in Kapiti. She also has a blog about plants and her love of them.

Anna is also the inspiring force behind the Kāpiti Seed Store. The Kāpiti Seed Store will act as a community chest of seeds for the Kāpiti Coast and take applications from community groups, schools and individuals for seed. The emphasis is on finding varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers that are specifically suited to the Kāpiti climate and ensuring their supply to gardeners on the Coast.

Ecoseeds sell open-pollinate, untreated seeds, some heritage varieties and some organic, grown in Wellington.

Kaiwaka Organics is an organic garden centre that used to trade as Koanga Gardens. They sell a wide range of garden and composting products, seeds, hand tools, fruit trees, animal products, kitchenware, books, body care and health, wholefoods and fair trade organic cotton online. Seeds and fruit trees are from Koanga Gardens.

Koanga Institute has been collecting and growing old fruit trees, vegetables, and flowers for 25 years to conserve the seed. They are particularly focused on New Zealand heirlooms. The Institute is a membership-based organization: for $30/35 a year members receive Spring and Autumn catalogues and two free packets of seeds.

Kings Seeds is an online seed shop with a huge range that includes some organic seed, sprouting seeds, green mulches etc.

BeeGap is a website dedicated to raising awareness around declining bee populations, assisting Kiwis to both encourage and add pollinators to their very own gardens.

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