Liz Hutchinson is a keen gardener who believes in the value of home-grown produce, and now the Northland woman has made her passion into a business.

From her property near Kaikohe, the 74-year-old has launched Seasonal Seeds, an online business for people who want to eat food fresh from their garden, but who need a little help to make it happen.

Placing an order with means a box of vegetable and herb seeds, complete with growing instructions, marker labels and potting pellets, arrives on the doorstep ready to plant each season.

"I've been running Seasonal Seeds in stealth mode for a few months to get the processes right," Mrs Hutchinson said.


"Now I'm gearing up for spring, which of course is the busiest time of the year for gardeners."

She has lived in Kaikohe since 1974 and her Seasonal Seeds is just one more online venture.

For the past nine years she has been helping her son, Chris, run and its sister website

From these websites subscribers are emailed advice on what to plant during which season and the suggestions are region-specific. What might grow well in Northland, for instance, may not be suitable for the South Island and Mrs Hutchinson said, because of climate change, the seasons are altering.

"We are looking at having to change some of our advice to suit what's happening these days," she said.

The websites provide 44,000 gardeners in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and the United States with free climate-specific information about sowing, growing and harvesting vegetables and other edible plants.

From those established websites she was getting requests for seeds so she started Seasonal Seeds to supply a demand.

The seeds are sourced from New Zealand and although the service is only available to New Zealand gardeners that might change in the future.

Her busiest times of the year are in spring and at Christmas as the boxes are proving popular as gifts.

Longer term, she would like the business to expand to provide jobs for local people, but currently it's entirely a family affair.

Mrs Hutchinson and her husband, David, assemble and ship the orders, while the e-commerce website was developed by Chris, who grew up in Kaikohe but is now an IT consultant in Australia.