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Radar's Patch


Te Radar responds

Throughout the series Te Radar has been answering your questions. We picked the best questions for Te Radar to answer.

From Te Radar: "As an enthusiastic amateur gardener with a little dirt under my nails, and a fairly good ability to schedule a to-do list chocker block with wonderful ideas , (if not an ability to fail to get much of it done) I shall be happy to answer any and all questions to the best of my abilities. "

May 26

We had a whole host of requests for the pizza oven featured in the series.

Te Radar responds: We sort of just bodged ours together really, without too much of a plan. We had built the clay one last time, and Jane the director had seen a plan in a local magazine, (which she promptly lost) so we had a vague idea about it.

We were very lucky to secure the brick base off TradeMe, and I'm sure there are not too many of them around. There are a few crucial heights etc to get right, but my suggestion would be to have a look on the net, and see which one suits you. There are plenty of YouTube clips and a wide variety of styles and ranges of difficulty.

Producer Jane Andrews responds: Radar's oven doesn't have its own plans but The Shed had some very good ones in their Feb/March 08 issue.  You can sometimes pick these up on Trade Me.  Their contact details are:

The Shed Magazine
231A Symonds St
New Zealand

Phone: +64 9 302-3172
Fax: +64 9 302-3174
PO Box 99652

For prefabricated pizza oven kits, Certec in Avondale, Auckland are excellent.   745 Rosebank Rd Avondale Auckland 1026, Telephone:  09-820 2240

Alison asks: In our office we were wondering where Radar's house is - mention River End but where in the country?
Te Radar responds: It's Riverhead, northwest of Auckland.

Brooke asks: I am doing a project at school on sustainability and I would be delighted for your comments on what you consider to be the main points I should cover.

Te Radar responds: Hi Brooke
The main points you should cover are the difference between personal sustainability and wider efforts. This means what can you do as a person to be more sustainable, and what can councils / government / business do. You could also look at the reusing waste and simply not creating it in the first place. I would also have a look at the concept of Green washing if you really wanted to have a provocative assignment.

Glenn and Cooper Davies ask: What's the chance of scoring a bottle (or two) of YOUR home brew!!! I was out Riverhead way last night and had this crazy idea that I might just be able to crab one from the fridge out there but no!!!   Or have you retired from the brewing business?
Te Radar responds: Sorry, it was so delicious we drank it all. It sustained us while we were being sustainable.

Glenys asks: Watched the final episode tonight and wondered if you could tell me the
name of the opera song and who the artist is please. It was in the background close to the end of the programme. I had this song for my wedding and have
forgotten what it is.

Te Radar responds: I believe that is O Mio Bambino Caro by Puccini.

May 18

Several of our viewers asked about the mushroom kit featured in episode seven.

Te Radar responds: They are available for $39.95 at some Mitre 10's, Palmers, Oderings and Kings or through

Toni writes: Really enjoying the show!  I'd like to know what type of solar water heater was installed/who supplied it?  Looked interesting.

Te Radar responds:  The heater came from  . They are in my experience not a bad unit

May 10

Sarah Jane asks: Really enjoying watching your show.  I liked the cheap worm farm you made.  Do you mind giving me the instructions again please.

Te Radar responds: Hi Sarah

Simply take a couple of plastic container with lids that will sit inside neatly on top of each other, drill some holes in the bottom of the top one, and the lid of the bottom one, to allow juice to drip through (its liquid gold) then sit top one on bottom one, fill top one with some torn up paper, scarps and worms (available for sale from trademe or gardening centres) and wait.

Dont forget to feed them.

Also check what worms can and cant eat...

Debbie writes: We absolutely love your show and even though we are already growing a lot of veges and composting I have not tried my hand at the worm farms yet. Can you please tell me which of your designs worked the best. A friend told me that the worms like the dark and I was wondering how they feared in the container. Also please can you tell me how you made the tire worm farm as can't remember the whole process.

Te Radar responds: Hi Debbie.

Worms do like the dark, but with enough vege matter in there and having them in the shade seemed to work out all right.

I think I prefer the bath as a worm farm but it really is a little big for many people.

The tyre farm can be built by sitting the tyres on some tin, so that any juice that leaks out can be caught in a bucket or tin, as its great for the garden (diluted to the colour of weak tea).

Simply stuff the tyres with newspaper and then fill with some dirt, your worms, and scraps

Tania writes: Hi Radar, A few weeks ago you included in your programme a section at a place where you could stay in a yurt.  My grandmother has always wanted to know about yurts.  Where can we get more information on this place, and where is it?

Te Radar responds: Hi Tanya. Yes, Yurts are yurt-tastic! We stayed here:

The hosts are the great Janie and Jim, and the yurts are only for the summer season I think

Its well worth a stay

Shane writes: Hi there, On tonight's show when you revisited your family home, your childhood room was covered in truck wall paper. I am moving house and would like a feature wall in my new bedroom, I have been searching for wall paper like what you had not necessarily trucks but anything equally as cool and authentic eg Robots, trains.. Would you happen to know anywhere that sold this style old wall paper?

Te Radar responds: Ah, yes, the truck wall-paper. There seems to be plenty of people who had it. Alas no idea where to get it now, but specialist wall paper shops (if they still exist) might know?

M writes: Hi Te Radar - who's sings the Radar's Patch theme song?  Sounds like Taj Mahal?

Te Radar responds: It is a talented duo with Rivergead connections - Derek Metivier and Marcus Lawson who also play with band Lucid 3 .

April 29

Stephanie Carman writes: Was just wanting to know how you cut the sides of the tyres? What tools did you use, because we have grabbed a heap of old tyres and are wanting use them in our garden.

Te Radar responds: Hi there. All you need is a good sharp strong blade, either a Stanley knife or a good vegetable knife.

It's pretty simple and not all that dangerous. Good luck

Sarah Giles writes: Just loving Te Radar's show. I watched it tonight and just loved the bamboo gardens! Very fancy Te Radar. I was just wondering if you could post it on the TVNZ website how you made them.

Te Radar responds: Actually it is pretty straight forward, design a circle about the right size, stick into the ground the uprights, from memory an odd number, then weave the spilt bamboo alternately around them.

It pays to have good long lengths, split into about 8th's. It can be split very easily by running a machete or strong blade down the lengths, sometimes assisted by the application of a tap with a hammer.

It also helps if the size of the circle is slightly less than the length of the bamboo.

It really is that easy. Have a crack, and if you don't get it right, start again.

Oh, and it may pay to line it with old carpet etc to help keep the dirt in.

Jess writes: I am just wondering if you could let us know where the source of bamboo is and if it is free?

Te Radar responds: Hi Jess

The bamboo was sourced from a large nursery in West Auckland. I'm not sure that they are still allowing any to be harvested, as we accessed it through the bamboo society. They may know of places to get some.

Their website with contact details is here:

Happy sourcing

Nevin writes: Could someone kindly send some information on how to turn a lawnmower into a mulcher as featured on 4 April ep?.

Te Radar responds: Hi Nevin,

There are a few instructions on the various sites on the wider internet, but we made it up as we went along.

So, I can't really provide any as it was all in our heads

Rosie writes: Thoroughly enjoying your show as always.  Could you please tell us where in Christchurch the paint recycling store is.

Te Radar responds: It is The Charity Barn, 526 Blenheim Rd, Chch.

Please ensure you say hi to Barry from ME!

April 20

Sarah Gill writes: We are in Hamilton and I was wondering if you knew that you can put in quite a few veggies for the winter. Brassicas, carrots, spuds, beetroot, brussle sprouts & broad beans, just to name a few.

I have carrots, bok chou, a new plant that's like sprouting broccoli that apparently tastes like broccoli and asparagus together which sounds yummy, spuds in buckets and N.Z spinach.

We are trying hard to lower our carbon foot print, lower our food miles by buying local or N.Z produce, growing some food, and composting, worming, and getting chookies. We only eat free range/ cage free chicken and pork and free range eggs. I do all this on the invalids benefit due to my cerebral palsey. Its not easy... but you do what you can to save the planet.
Keep up the ECO shows Te Radar, we are inspiring me. 

Can you do one in the Waikato soon so the resources are more local for us?

Te Radar responds:  Hi there Sarah. Yes, I was aware of the large number of veges that can be planted in winter.

It's a amazing what will continue to flourish, even in the chilly Waikato. ( I grew up there so am familiar with it's fog)

You are right, people do what they can, and it sounds like you are doing a great deal.  Im not sure that we will down to the Waikato to film, in fact Im not sure there will be another series.

Keep up the good work

Gavin writes: Hi Te Radar; Long time watcher first time writer! I am a Riverhead local and am also trying my hand at the backyard garden & chickens lifestyle change.  I have a quick question ---  The Te Whenua Brewer is there any possibility of purchasing any of his wonderful looking brews and if so where?

It would be awesome if you replied.

Te Radar responds: Ah, you mean Albrecht.  Sadly it's not possible to buy any of his beer as that would contravene the home brewing laws.

These are real laws, issued by the government, not some odd laws that home brewers make up.
Sorry about that, as his beer is excellent.

If you see him around you could always ask....He's a great guy,

April 14

A whole host of emails came in asking for the recipe to the muesli from episode two,  as well as 'Margaret's Elixir of Youth'.
The recipes can be found here.

Paul Guthrie writes: Did the smartdrive motor produce enough power to light up a bulb? I f it did how about a wiring plan?

Te Radar responds: Hi there,

Yes it did, especially any LED type bulbs.

We just had a simple version that wasnt overly effective.

Stay tuned as in a future episode (Maybe next week or the week after) we travel to Taranaki to see someone who is utilising them with both windmills and Pelton wheels.

Im not sure of the wiring plan, as electrics aren't really my forte, (I was tempted to have a go but I quite like being alive) and we had one of the guys from what power crisis kindly wire it up for us.

Emma Hunt writes: Noticed you cut the walls off your tyres for the potato stacks.
What kind of knife did you use to do that? something especially grunty and sharp?
Te Radar responds: Actually its really simple, and I just used an ordinary Stanley knife initially, then I think I simply used a sharp short bladed kitchen knife.

If you cut next to the base of the tire, you know, the drive on the groundy bit, there shouldnt be any steel lining or such like.

I was amazed at how quick and simply it is.

Alternately, most tire shops will cut the walls out before they bin the tyre, so you could ask them if they have any.

April 5

Margee writes: Hi there,

My partner and I were having a discussion about "Radar's Patch", and he was saying that it's not filmed in New Zealand and that "Radar" is not a kiwi bloke and I say that it is filmed in NZ and that he is Kiwi.

Please could you enlighten us both and answer these two questions.

Te Radar responds: Hello Margee.
Radar's Patch is most certainly filmed in New Zealand, at a little town called Riverhead on the outskirts of West Auckland. And while I am a kiwi, I am not sure I would classify myself as a typical "Kiwi bloke".

Winter in Wellywood writes: Hi Radar,

I just recently started to be interested in gardening.. I've started by weeding. I live in inner city Wellington and I hope to have a fully functioning eadible garden. Through Google I've just learnt what season we are in and that Winter is upon us soon, therefore nothing can be planted until Winter is over soooo I thought I'd have a crack at a worm garden (although still not completely sure the difference between a worm garden and composting) anyways.. I have an old bath that is full of dirt and now no other plants, I have old food scraps at the ready, so what next?.. Worms?? and then what? Is it really as easy as Google says?

Look forward to hearing from you,

Te Radar responds: Hi Winter in Wellywood.

How about having a look at some crops that nourish the soil, cover crops such as lupins or mustard, oats, or peas.

You can still plant citrus trees, and there are some great dwarf varieties out there now. Also have a look at winter veges like broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage, leeks, some potatoes, and oninons apparently.

Or perhaps a little winter colour in the form of sweet peas?

As for the worms, they are pretty simple. You can order the right ones (Tiger worms) over the internet from various sources or Trade Me. There's also plenty of instructions there too. Just be careful to bone up on what they don't like, and the best ways to avoid rodents.


Mir asks: Is the Land Rover for sale? Will it be on sale after the show finishes? Maybe the new show will start with a new landie and the old one can be sold.

Te Radar responds: The landrover has a little sentimental attachment attached to it so, no, it is a not for sale at this stage.


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