Get Growing with NZ Gardener

7:00pm Sunday, February 13 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

In the series final, Lynda teaches the Coopeys how to save their own seeds and deal with any ‘end of season’ problems in the garden to get it ready for winter. As well as a general tidy-up, it’s time to evaluate what were the top crops and the flop crops. Chris and Lee-Anne look back on their ten week experience and offer their own tips and advice for those who are keen to try out their own green fingers and ponder how their lives have changed thanks to their new found skills. And what better way to celebrate than with Garden Cocktails. Heather whips up a garden Mojito, and mindful of Lynda’s baby-bump, a great summer non-alcoholic cocktail for the mother-to-be.

7:00pm Sunday, February 6 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

With the Coopeys vege garden now cranking out summer crops, Lynda teaches Chris and Lee-Anne how to deal with garden gluts by pickling and preserving – and how to make the most of their eggs. Armed with recipes and bottles, the Coopeys think about stocking their store cupboard to ensure they will be enjoying the fruits of their garden labours over the months ahead. Then Lee-Anne’s off to Auckland’s Te Atatu Peninsula primary school to share her gardening knowledge with students who are preparing their own community garden beds. Fiona also focuses on little green fingers this week with five fun ideas to get children involved in gardening; meanwhile Heather visits Chris Davidson at his West Auckland tunnel house, where he’s cracked the art of growing a great crop of purple passion fruit.

7:00pm Sunday, January 30 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

This week the focus is on garden maintenance, and even though the Coopey’s garden is flourishing they need to learn all about feeding to ensure there is a continued abundance of healthy crops. Lynda also introduces them to the two most important ‘W’s’ in gardening – watering and weeding. After she explains the best ways to boost the nutrient supply to their plants, she leaves them with the task of installing a suitable – and sustainable – irrigation system that suits both their lifestyle and their garden. Fiona also covers the importance of feeding this week, as she looks at caring for citrus trees.

Lemons, limes, mandarins, grapefruit and oranges are prized for their vitamin C laden fruit in winter, but you need to ensure they’re well fed before they’ll feed you. Meanwhile Heather is on the hunt for the best tips on growing Globe Artichokes – which are both delicious to eat and also if left to flower result in the most amazing sculptural blooms. And back at the Coopey’s, Lee-Anne has a new challenge on her hands. Before she can feed and water her garden – she needs to weed it!

LIVING CHANNEL – Fridays from 28 January, 4.30pm

Whether it’s the joy of growing your own produce or the satisfaction of serving it fresh at the table, Get Growing with NZ Gardener will inspire viewers to pick up a spade, some seeds and a few bags of dirt and get gardening! With expert advice from NZ Gardener Magazine Editor-At-Large Lynda Hallinan, each week we will follow the Coles Family as they adopt a new more self sufficient lifestyle and work to transform their home garden into a fully sustainable edible wonderland. The family will be given practical and hands-on lessons on what grows where, along with clever ideas on pest management, composting and garden management. It will cover plant care from seeds to harvest, with different projects and chores each week. Get Growing with NZ Gardener not only gives viewers the chance to satisfy their ‘inner Good Life’ but will offer useful, practical information appropriate for local conditions, designed specifically for Kiwi audiences.

7:00pm Sunday, December 12 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

With the vegetable gardens planted and happily growing, Lynda’s thoughts turn to compost – more specifically with Christmas looming, it’s thoughts on how to turn compost into Pavlova and omelettes! Yes the Coopeys are about to welcome three new and very important ‘women’ into their lives – Chickens! But first there are many preparations to be done. Lynda arranges for Chris and Lee-Anne to meet with Nadine Hall, who has recently completed a Lifestyle Block Magazine special edition “How to care for your Poultry” to find out more about looking after their new flock.

And of course with Benny to think of, and the fact that chickens could give Houdini a run for his money when it comes to escaping, Chris gets his tools out ready to transform part of the section into the best Chicken Hotel he can. Meanwhile Fiona checks out the best ways to deal with slugs and snails and Heather visits Robert Auton in Omaha, where he grows stunning strawberries and blueberries to make icecream. Back at the Coopeys, Lynda is due any minute with the hens. Her plans are to give three former battery hens a free range retirement at the Coopeys…

7:00pm Sunday, December 5 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

As the new kitchen garden beds settle in at the front, the Coopeys turn their attentions to their rear garden and this time the focus is on fruit. You don’t need loads of space for a ‘city orchard’ thanks to most fruit trees being available grafted onto dwarf root stock – which keeps the trees themselves at a manageable size for a home garden when fully grown. After gleaning Lynda’s top tips on caring for fruit trees along with a demonstration on how to plant them, Lee-Anne and Chris get stuck in. With summer on the way the timing is also perfect for a berry bed and Chris is keen to build an area from railway sleepers to match their existing landscaping, which will soon be home to strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and more.

For those of you with a hankering for berries but less available space to plant them, Fiona shows how easy it is to grow blueberries in pots, while Heather visits Scott at CCS Disability Action Garden to learn all about the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of planting a successful Rhubarb crop. Meanwhile back at the Coopeys there are citrus trees to plant in the front garden and its time to consult the lunar planting guide as it looks like it’s time to get the lunar garden experiment underway as the moon is right for nearly everything except root crops.

7:00pm Sunday, November 28 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

With the Coopeys front lawn transformed into an eight-bed potager-style garden, it’s time to get it planted! Lynda’s on hand to teach Chris & Lee-Anne about crop rotation – and which veges to plant where. The beds are divided up into plots for heat-lovers, brassicas, root crops and more, and the couple embark on a lunar gardening experiment. Lunar planting follows the cycles of the moon, and its gravitational pull on the moisture content of the soil. Sounds wacky, but lunar gardening advocates swear their plants germinate and grow quicker and stronger.

Always up for a challenge the Coopeys are keen to have a ‘guinea pig garden’ and are fascinated to find out whether or not Lunar planting will make a noticeable difference. Then it’s off to Palmers to stock up on plants as in order to get the best start in the vege garden, Chris and Lee-Anne are planting a mix of seeds, seedlings and more established plants. After a quick lesson on planting from Lynda she leaves them to fill their garden beds, however it’s not as easy as it might appear. The Coopeys are keen to maximise their space, but traditionally potager gardens are very ordered with neat rows of plants. While Chris debates whether or not to get the laser level out to ensure the straightest of lines, Lee-Anne works from the centre out, with the tall plants in the middle and making sure that there is nothing that will suddenly grow and shade out smaller plants. Meanwhile the Lunar garden looks more like a lunar landscape as there’s a week or so to wait for optimum planting time.

7:00pm Sunday, November 21 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Sometimes the hardest part with planning an edible garden is just knowing where to start! Lynda and the Coopeys have spent time planning and have a good idea of where the sunniest spots are for prime vegetable growing. They have completed soil testing and are armed with the knowledge of how to improve what they have to ensure the best growing conditions and the greenhouse has been set up ready for sowing. Chris and Lee-Anne have discovered that their best growing area is in the sun-soaked front of their section so the big decision is whether or not to sacrifice the front lawn for a potager garden, but still keep an area in which they can enjoy sitting out in the sun.

In the meantime their thoughts turn to what they want to grow. Their love of Asian foods inspires the idea of an Asian greens garden, and Lee-Anne has always had a hankering to try growing unusual vegetables such as Artichokes but has no idea where to start. Lynda is on hand to offer advice on the best seasonal options for this time of year as well as setting up the basics including a herb garden. But first, thoughts turn to the front lawn and the potager garden – to move ahead it’s time to rally around some help and start building garden beds!

7:00pm Sunday, November 14 on Prime

Lifestyle Series

Prime’s popular back-to-basics gardening show, Get Growing with NZ Gardener, is back with a brand new series offering practical advice on how to adopt a more self sufficient lifestyle by establishing a home vegetable garden. Hosted by gardening guru Lynda Hallinan, the series follows Lee-Anne and Chris Coopey who, with little gardening experience, work to transform their suburban back yard into an edible wonderland over a 10 week period. In our first episode, Lynda assesses the Coopeys West-Auckland section and together they make a plan of attack which will include not only garden beds but a greenhouse! Each week Lynda will set them a garden task as well as follow up on the task from the week before, and in her Weekly Diary will cover top tips relevant to gardeners across the country.

She will be joined in each episode by a member of our support team – Heather from Living Earth, Fiona from Yates and the expert crew at Palmers – who will tackle a gardening challenge, with everything from moving established plants to solving basic problems as well as highlighting a crop of the week. Whether a serious or hobby gardener, Get Growing with NZ Gardener has something for everyone with loads of practical advice and hands-on demonstrations offering tips and tricks to get anyone growing!

It was about time we had a new Gardening show on television and who better to front it than the woman who has helped proved that living in suburbia doesn’t mean you can’t be self sufficient – NZ Gardener editor, Lynda Hallinan.

Anyone who has either been a reader of the magazine, her blog or a subscriber to her weekly email will already know that Lynda set herself a $10 weekly grocery budget in January of 2008 with the intention of producing everything else from her typical suburban section.  This new show is about helping one family do exactly the same thing.

Being an avid gardener as well and wanting to learn better ways to maximise the return from our land, I was definitely excited to see the show.  However, the show was a little different from what I was expecting.

I was expecting a gardening show.  What I got was a reality gardening show.

Although they’re probably in the demographic for targeted subscribers to the magazine, the family who have been cast as the ones to have their backyard transformed aren’t necessarily the the ones who would have benefited the most from the opportunity.  This was fairly evident when Devoney complained when Lynda suggested tearing up their backyard to build raised gardens.  Her concern was that they had a massive mortgage so their two young children would have a large lawn to play in.  Jon, who works in advertising and no doubt has to mow said lawn, didn’t seem to object to the idea at all.  Forgoing a backyard and taking the kids to the park instead while having a luscious garden that reduces your weekly grocery bill would surely be the choice of a family actually concerned with saving some money.

Unfortunately for Devoney, that one comment immediately made her a reality tv villain.  The ungrateful competitor despised by all the other viewers who would have loved the opportunity to have their backyards transformed by the guru of self sufficiency.  Thankfully though, we have our hero, Lynda.

This hybrid of magazine show and reality television was a little strange.  There were some great gardening tips but the drama of actually convincing the family to jump all the way in was a little disappointing.  I don’t think that reluctance was helpful at all.  Particularly in light of what the show is attempting to do.  It now seems as though they’ve settled for less.  Sure, they’ll be better off for it but I doubt they’ll get the results, garden wise, that they’re looking for.

In saying that, it’s a Sunday night.  How many other drama filled, reality television series have aired with very little substance and have yet rated through the roof.  If GGwNZG can entertain and then encourage people to put some of their own yards into work then it can only be a good thing.