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Month October 2017

Our Strawbale Build: Small And Slow Solutions

With the help of family, friends and our wider community, my partner and I built a passive solar strawbale home. Building a home is an incredibly rewarding, exhausting and empowering thing to do. It’s an opportunity to implement ethical principles, learn and practise skills, build community, and create a space to live in that is truly reflective of your personal aesthetics and philosophy.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation can bring great benefits to your yields, plant health and soil health, whether you’re a market gardener, homesteader or backyard grower. Crop rotation is the principle of avoiding repeating a crop with either the same crop or one in the same botanical family in successional plantings. For example, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale are all in the Brassica family, so you’d avoid planting one of these straight after another. It also involves rotating crops according to their nutrient needs, whether they are a fruit, leaf, legume or root crop.

Darren J. Doherty

Darren J. Doherty grew up on the family farm near Bendigo, learning rural and farming skills from his grandfather. ‘He saw that they would hold me in good stead,’ says Darren. ‘As someone who had lived through the Depression, he could see that those times may come again, so if economic circumstances collapsed I’d have the ability to survive.’

Build Your Own Natural Swimming Pool

A natural swimming pool is a beautiful and healthy alternative to a conventional pool. By building a natural swimming pool, you are creating a self-cleaning water system that benefits both people and local wildlife, with no risk of releasing chemicals or pollution into the atmosphere, local waterways or environment.

The Seaweed Solution

Seaweed is having a renaissance. For years it has been undervalued; out of sight, out of mind. However, researchers around the country and the world have begun to explore its amazing potential as an alternative to many products and practices which are proving to be unsustainable in the long-term.

In The Garden: November – February

map of aussie
November: Basil, beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, chives, coriander, cucumber, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon and thyme, English spinach, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, onion, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, silverbeet, swede, sweet corn, tomato, turnip, zucchini

Save Your Seeds: Broccoli

Sprouting broccoli grows well in summer in southern Australia and in winter in warmer areas of Australia. It has two growth habits; one with a central head, and one that produces numerous small flower heads along the stalk (e.g. the sprouting Calabrese).

Eat Your Weeds: Acorn

Acorns (Quercus spp.) have long been thought of as a last resort food, but these small parcels of goodness pack quite a nutritional punch when processed the right way. Processing them is important, as acorns (like tea, chocolate and red wine) are jam-packed full of tannins. So much tannic acid in fact that they’re toxic to many livestock and even humans in their natural form. Leaching them of their tannins takes a little time and dedication. You also have to wait for trees to produce a mast crop every four or so years, though for the enthusiastic forager this can involve many enjoyable months of scouting these beautiful trees in the lead up to autumn. Patience certainly is a virtue where acorns are concerned, as they can reward you with easy to store sweet and nutty flour, and a cheap, cheerful and fattening winter feed for chooks and pigs.

Book Reviews

This beautifully designed book highlights 40 Australian native bushfoods and incorporates them into vegan dishes. For those with a sweet tooth, there are anise myrtle yoyo bickies, strawberry gum jam drops and passionberry granola to try, to name just a few. For more substantial meals, whip up some jackfruit tacos with muntry coleslaw, seablite rice paper rolls or kutjera pasta.