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Garden terraces, Clarence Street, 22 January 2008The arrival of Lynda Hallinan’s weekly email newsletter couldn’t have been better timed. Every Friday in 2008 the New Zealand Gardener editor is sending out chatty gardening tips and commentary, along with news, competitions, recipes, and an ask an expert panel.

Lynda has big plans for New Zealanders. This year her magazine has launched “a campaign to get New Zealand growing. We want to encourage every new and novice vege gardener out there to give it a go.”

This campaign follows a year in which the magazine’s editor lived off produce from her Auckland vege garden, plus $10 a week (for more detail see a NZ Gardener’s Blog Diary). She proved it’s possible to grow a enough food for a household and even swap surpluses. More strings are being added to Linda’s bow this year. Homemade wine, a pizza oven and a whole lot more fun are planned.

The language in the newsletter is so, so approachable and the advice easy to relate to. I think this is because Linda is willing to admit the odd mistake.

This is all music to my ears. My gardening efforts come in fits and starts, so I need some encouragement beyond the sheer pleasure of eating my own food. And despite watching both my grandparents and parents grow loads of kai, I’m a later starter at gardening.

In an almost cause-effect chain of events, I’ve dug 160 litres of compost into the garden since last Friday’s email newsletter arrived. With my final terrace now in production, I’ve been able to plant beetroot, brassicas and naughty marietta.

I’d have to conclude based on just one newsletter, it’s effective at inspiring action. With each month’s gardening magazine (thanks to a Christmas present from my out-of-laws) and now the emails, I guess I can expect to be growing lots this year.