Sentinels group seed growers

Growing the right plants for your region can make all the difference. That's why our growers are actively breeding and improving varieties that are well suited to their local conditions.

Where possible you are advised to purchase your seeds from sources nearby or with similar climate.


Carla McKnight

Carla McKnight

Details  Carla was born in Holland, moved to NZ with her family at age 9 and has always worked in gardens from a young age.
At age 15 she had at least 40 plants in her room, some rather large.
Still keen on house plants, just a few more than 40 now, she believes a house without plants is an empty shell.
Now married to husband Paul, together they have three grown children with seven young grand kids, on an eleven acres in the Waikato with three Clydesdales, two miniature horses and a Quarter horse x, two cats and a dog.
Carla has spent most of her life working in gardens, has always had a keen interest in growing indoor and outside plants especially interested in native plantings. Now has big vegetable gardens/fruit trees and a small mostly native nursery keeping her busy. Wanting to make that little bit of difference for our environment and wildlife, the more people plant trees and grow their own produce the better.
Alice Le Brun

Alice Le Brun

Details  Alice lives in the sunny Marlborough region

She was first introduced to seed saving by watching her mother collect seed each season for the next. As an adult she realized the value of the skills her mother had given her and continued the practice. Alice aims to preserve heritage and heirloom varieties as well as developing new strains.

Medbury Gardens

Richard Watson started growing seed when he was given what was later to be renamed the Benhorn carrot.This was in the late 1980's and two years later he joined up with Kay Baxter who had only just set up Koanga Gardens, as a volunteer heirloom seed grower.

Through the 1990's he leased land in around Rangiora area which helped build his knowledge and understanding of the complexities of growing seed but it wasn't until he and his family bought 5.1 hectares in the Amuri basin that he was able to increase both the number and the volume of seed lines.

Four Peaks Paddocks

Richard Tew's garden is located outside of Geraldine near Te Moana Gorge. Four Peaks Paddocks is a 2 hectare lifestyle block.  The orchard is interplanted with various fruit and vegetables, some of which produce seed saved for Sentinels group.
While any seed currently offered by Four Peaks Paddocks on the website is of named open pollinated varieties, future seed is intended to also come from landrace experiments.  Approximately 10 varieties each of both pumpkins (maxima) and broad beans are being allowed to freely cross in order to increase the available genetic diversity and allow selection of a wider variety of interesting traits.

Sarah Smith

Sarah lives with her husband and 2 boys on a 5 acre block in the sunny Bay of Plenty.  She has always had a love of the outdoors and in particular gardening with a passion for anything edible be it fruit, vegetables, herbs or flowers.

Sarah developed an interest in seed saving from a young age and also being a hobbyist bee keeper for 5+ years has made her more aware of the importance of flowers as a food source for our pollinators and retaining these pollinated seeds for future use.

Sarah also has a keen interest in NZ Native Plants and how they provide shelter and food for wildlife and support pollinators.  She is keen to promote the biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage.

Purau Gardens

Purau Gardens is located in Purau by the Lyttleton Harbour. Well known as an historic early market garden for Christchurch with a great climate and rich volcanic soil. No chemicals or fertilisers are required for the production of fantastic fruit and vegetables and its relative isolation makes this a great area for specialist seed production and development.

Sue and Nev Sinclair

Sue and Nev Sinclair

Sue - I have been a gardener since before marrying Nev, 40 years ago. I am not experimental but love to grow our own food using varieties that have proved to be suitable for our light alluvial soil and harsh climate in the Scargill Valley.

Nev - We have been using gardening techniques that we feel are supportive of nature and seek to further our understanding of the way in which forces and organisms interact. I am very observant of any novelty that becomes evident in the plants I am growing. I have bred a couple of unique lines of plants and am developing new strains of potatoes and apple varieties.