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Just Add Worms Garden Blog

Featured Posts

Attracting Techno Colour Tui To Your Garden

Our tui feeders can be viewed here ….. Much to the delight of local tui the Taiwanese Cherry tree in our garden is once again show casing the arrival of spring with a beautiful display of blossoms. During the last few weeks I’ve taken “a little” time out, can’t say how much as I’m supposed […]

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Are You Sure This Tui Feeder Will Attract Tui ?

Are You Sure This Tui Feeder Will Attract Tui ?

That’s the question I was asked one morning several years ago upon receiving a phone call off one of our adverts in the New Zealand Gardener. The caller introduced himself as Pat and then followed on from his opening question with this statement, “aren’t they a bit expensive!”. It was obvious that he wasn’t one […]

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How To Hang Your Tui Feeder in Four Simple Steps

Each week as I pack up our tui feeders for dispatch I wonder if those receiving them will have any difficulty setting them up in their gardens. Having worked in the furniture trade off and on for many years I can turn my hand to most things however I’m aware that some people can not. […]

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Sixteen Interesting Tui Facts

Sixteen Interesting Tui Facts

Tui ( prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) are endemic “native and unique” to New Zealand. They are found on the three main islands and belong to the honey eater family. Tui are a fully protected in New Zealand. The name Tui is derived from the Maori language with the plural being simply tui. Europeans who first colonised New […]

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After 47 Years I’ve Decided It’s Time To Slow Down


It certainly seems a long time ago that I very nervously set off for my first day of work as a junior clerk in a Chartered Accountants office in my home town of Otorohanga. After leaving school my Dad who was a successful dairy farmer bluntly advised me ” don’t be a farmer boy you’re smarter than that” as he wanted me to have an easier life than pushing cows. Because I’d excelled at book keeping as they called it those days I decided that perhaps I could become an accountant. After approximately 18 months of sorting out never ending butter boxes of cow cockie’s cow crap stained accounts the excitement of it all had become more than I could handle. Like most teenagers I was restless and wanted to explore the world ….

Since then I’ve worked in pulp and paper mills, fish factories, joinery workshops, a psychiatric hospital, on roading projects and country estates in Scotland, a transport company in Crete and in the Australian out back. I also spent 10 years and 14 years respectively in insurance and real estate sales. You could say I have become a jack of all trades and a master of some.

Just Add Worms began as a simple garden blog about 8 years ago when I retired from the hectic 24/7 of real estate and it rapidly evolved into a work from home business. I’ve lost count of how many tui feeders we’ve made but what started as a one of weekend project developed into something much bigger. My love of the outdoors, birding and photography blended in perfectly but the time has now come when I wish to spend more time persuing my ultimate passion which is photography.

In my workshop I still have some excess tui feeder parts so I intent to make a few more but this will be on a very casual one to one basis. If you email or message me via Facebook I’m sure we can come to a satisfactory arrangement as long as you don’t want it like yesterday. Ordering through our online shop is no longer possible as its been closed down.

Also if anyone is interested in purchasing the business please feel free to make contact.

Finally I would like to offer a very special thanks all our past clients who have purchased our feeders and to our family and friends who supported us. Without you Just Add Worms wouldn’t have been so successful and rewarding.  Its with mixed emotions I write this post but realize its time to move on.

Once again thank-you one and all ….. it’ s been fun.

This is my newly launched Facebook page if you would like to check it out, all likes appreciated.
Website to follow soon …..




How to Attract And Keep Tui Coming Back To Your Garden

Tui  On Feeder

Obviously firstly I would have to say … “get yourself a tui feeder” however there are other ways which include planting nectar bearing trees like kowhai, bottle brush, banksia or native flaxes to name just a few. Alternatively you could simply put out a bowl of sugared water but it needs to be under cover otherwise the first down pour will dilute the mixture. That’s fine for the spring and summer months but after that ? Never fear we have a “solution” and yes, please excuse the pun.
It was about 2009 when I erected our first prototype tui feeder and I’ve  been captivated by these colourful characters ever since. I guess now I can lay claim to being somewhat of an tui expert.

My advice to new clients is to position their feeder as close as possible to where the tui land and once they’ve had their first drink they will just keep coming back for more. After that re position it where ever and they will seek it out as I’ve proven on numerous occasions. Believe it or not it also helps if you keep it topped up ! Really I jest not, its like a car folks “it won’t go if it ain’t got juice”.

When visiting our feeder the tui always land in the tree directly above it and once they’re confident that they they have safe passage they will fly down, this one below is doing just that, waiting.

Tui In Tree As a keen photographer I love having these birds dropping by as it gives me a constant supply of models who are only too happy to pose for a small fee consisting of a little sugar and water.

Tui On Feeder

The soft light of early morning or evening is when I like to set the camera up as the wonderful array of colours within the tui’s plumage is shown to best effect as can be seen on the images below. Often I set up other props on or around the feeder to get a variety of shots …. its challenging but great fun and the tui seem to enjoy it as well. No I don’t have names for them as yet !

Tui On Feeder Attached a branch to the side of the tui feeder to get this tentative pose below.

Tui On Branch As winter approaches tui and other birds will be searching for extra food so now’s a great time to add a feeder to your garden and makes things a little easier for these guys over the colder months. Click here to see the complete range or here to see what many satisfied clients have to say ….

Hyline Brown hens for sale

IMG_8352 Hens Drinking 02

We’ve owned these hens since they were day old chicks and its rather sad to see them go but we just have too many. Some months ago several clients placed orders for day old chicks but when they were two weeks old and ready to be collected they advised that the no longer wanted them. Now we need to sell some of our existing flock which is earlier than intended as they are only 15 months old.
These hens are not for eating and only for sale to those who can provide them them with a good home.

For collection you will need to bring a good sized box, cat cage or similar.

They are $20.00 each, vaccinated and in excellent condition.

Pickup is in Alfriston ……


Let These Magical Tui Brighten Up Your Winter !

Click here to place your order or here to see what others are saying.

As winter is almost on our back doors once again I thought this would be an opportune time to re post a couple of our most popular tui videos. As they do at Christmas orders go a little crazy just now. No need to worry mind because if you want one for yourself, a family member or friend I’ll get it made. Our feeders are a unique birthday gift that will last for years to come.

We send them anywhere and everywhere in New Zealand.

Some of our most recent orders have gone to tui watchers in ….

  • Napier
  • Te Awamutu
  • Cambridge
  • Gore
  • Nelson
  • Bleheim
  • Whanganui
  • Huntly
  • Queenstown

As Usual …. Tui Don’t Disappoint !!

Tui on Feeder I’ve been so busy of late that I forgot to follow up on my last post so here’s a brief update.

As mentioned then I decided to refill our feeders a month earlier than last year due to the very dry summer we’ve experienced. The landscape around here like elsewhere in the country is very parched and dry and there certainly doesn’t seem to be much food about for the birds. If the number of half eaten tomatoes in our garden is anything to go by I’d say that all the birds are hungry and looking for food and moisture. Twenty four hours is all the time it took for this tui to land on the feeder and take a drink.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a tui feeder now is an ideal time to get it set up in time for winter. Our complete range can be viewed here.

Timing It Right For Tui

IMG_9395 Tui Feeder Dirty Jaw Redone

After four months of hanging idle the tui feeders in our garden look slightly ragged but after a quick scrub they’re looking like new again. Could say a little bit like myself first thing in the morning.

Last year I filled the tui feeders in early April and within half an hour tui arrived to have their fill. Several weeks back I noticed a solitary tui land on the feeder so I thought this year I would go through the exercise a little earlier to see what would happen.

IMG_9397 Tui Feeder Washing Down Jaw

Four hours have passed and not so much as the slightest hint of a tui or any bird for that matter. Our neighbours cat Leo probably hasn’t helped as he’s been lazing about waiting for his next meal of tasty rabbit. We have a burrow that goes under the deck. When the young ones first venture out to explore the exciting new world that awaits them he is ready to welcome them. Better that than yours truly having to hunt them down because they ultimately end up in my lettuce patch.

IMG_9417 Leo the Cat Jaw

As I write this post the sun is about to set and still no action. Perhaps better luck tomorrow. Leo has made tracks as the rabbits have stayed put so its dinner in a can for him.

IMG_9427 Tui Feeder Washed Jaw

To all the tui out there your dinner is ready and waiting.

Attracting Techno Colour Tui To Your Garden

Our tui feeders can be viewed here …..

Tui Feeding on Cherry Blossom Much to the delight of local tui the Taiwanese Cherry tree in our garden is once again show casing the arrival of spring with a beautiful display of blossoms. During the last few weeks I’ve taken “a little” time out, can’t say how much as I’m supposed to be working, to admire and photograph them enjoying it’s nectar. On a dull day tui appear to be  “just another black bird” with a couple of tuffs of white but get up close and you’ll see them in a different and amazing light.
Tui in Cherry Tree

Tui Feeding on Nectar

A good sense of balance helps …. Tui Singing

“Yes not only do I look good but I can sing ….. dare I suggest that I’m the Andrea Bocelli of the bird world”. Tui Feeding from Cherry Blossoms

…. as does flexibility. Tui in Cherry Tree Having the right trees in your garden will help to attract these beautiful birds as will our purpose designed tui feeders.

Tui Right On Cue

It was an early morning back in April when I set about refilling the Tui feeders in our garden for the usual influx of our cheeky friends. Like clockwork every year they drop by to see that we’ve not forgotten to put their food out. With summer over there’s less naturally occurring food about for any hungry birds. After I’d completed the refill I sat down to enjoy my breakfast and pondered how long it might take the tui to discover that the feeders that had been empty since November were primed up and awaiting their patronage. I reckoned it might be a day or so but my guess was well off the mark.

IMG_0461 Tui pair cropped for JAW blogTwenty minutes was all the time it took for a male tui to arrive. I’m sure that they must watch my movements around the property and know when it’s dinner time. Tui are a amazing bird so there’s little wonder that they are one of the most popular. If you would like to attract some  to your garden this winter click here to check out our range of feeders.

Six Ways to Stop Chickens From Eating Their Own Eggs

If you’ve ever kept hens you will have experienced the problem of them eating their own eggs. Not only is it very frustrating it can be a difficult habit to break. Here are a few strategies that I’ve employed over the years.that have worked well. Partly eaten egg

  1. Find the culprit and administer a “Mary Queen of Scots”. No, I’m joking but as a last resort you may need to cull out the offending bird or birds.
  2. Ensure that nesting boxes have a good layer of straw or wood shavings so that eggs don’t come into contact with hard surfaces. We use untreated pine wood shavings to a depth of about 10 cm. Eggs are often broken whilst or shortly after being laid. A nesting box for every 4 to 5 birds is recommended.
  3. False Hen Eggs Put some fake eggs or golf balls in the boxes as trying to eat these will dampen any chicken’s enthusiasm.
  4. Have a plentiful supply of grit, we sell oyster grit for $20 a large 20 kg bag, pickup only. Let your girls obtain their calcium needs from this rather than the shells of their own eggs. Most commercial poultry feed manufacturers add grit but I don’t believe its adequate.
  5. Bag of Oyster GritSet up a grit station within your coop so hens have access 24/7. Grit is essential  to aid digestion and in the formation strong healthy shells.
    Grit Station
  6. If possible collect eggs regularly during mid and late morning. Doing this will lessen the chances of them being broken and eaten.

Hyline Brown Chickens If you’ve found this information helpful please leave a comment.

Tomato Cat-facing

When it comes to growing tomatoes I thought I knew 95% of what there was to know but it seems that seasoned gardeners like myself  can still learn a thing or two. If someone had told me  that some of my tomatoes were affected by cat-facing I would have told them to quit pulling my lateralsTomatoes affected by catfacing Even as I write this I’m bemused that after 40 plus years of growing toms I’ve never heard the term “cat-facing”. Obviously I’m no expert when it comes to this however after having undertaken a little research I’m slightly better informed. I have noticed this phenomenon before but it’s never concerned me as we don’t sell tomatoes therefore ascetics are a non issue and it certainly doesn’t affect the flavour. My view on tomatoes is “they don’t have to look wonderful but they do need to taste wonderful “. Cutting out all the the ugly bits is just part of enjoying delicious home grown tomatoes. Sure the supermarket variety look perfect but when it comes to the all important taste test they fail dismally.

From what I’ve read cat-facing appears to be a physiological disorder that causes scars and cavities at the blossom end of the fruit. It can be linked to poor growing conditions such as soil, weather, and fluctuations in temperature during the early stages of flower and bud development. Other fruits including apples and stone fruits can be also be affected. In our garden it appears to be more prevalent amongst the larger fleshy heirloom tomatoes like Brandy-wine and Black Krim, I’ve never seen it on hybrids such as Beefsteak or Money Makers. Excess nitrogen levels also appear to be a factor so my decision this year to ease up on chicken manure which is high in nitrogen probably was a good one. I did this not because of cat-facing but rather the high incidence of blossom end rot during the 2012/13 season. This year I only spotted one tomato with it but that’s a success story for another day.

Useful links ….