Category 10

Letters To The Editor

Letters to the Editor

Write to us and let us know what you think of the mag and your response to any of the articles. The best letter will receive a Pip magazine art print, printed with archival inks on beautiful textured archival 300gsm rag paper.

Hello amazing team at Pip Magazine, I have recently discovered your beautiful mags. I would love to congratulate your entire team on such a wonderful magazine. I am absolutely in love with it. The articles are so interesting and relate to how my family & I live (in the rainforest in Far North Qld).

Natural Hair Care


Unless you’ve embraced the ‘no poo’ method (where you eschew shampoo), you’ll be regularly pouring hair products onto your head. Shampoo, conditioner, perhaps a hair treatment mask every now and then, texturising spray, styling pomade, colour treatment …

All of these add up, not only in cost and precious shower space, but in increasing your environmental footprint. A lot of energy goes into making and transporting even the smallest of plastic bottles, with most not being able to be recycled after their use.

Many of the products on the market also expose you to nasty chemicals such as propylene glycol (which has been linked to headaches and kidney problems), triclosan (a hormone disrupter) and parabens (which can cause skin irritation), and the majority have been tested on animals.

Hand Made In Heidelberg: Fd Ryan Toolmakers


Hidden amongst the factories and warehouses of Heidelberg West, FD Ryan Toolmakers is a father and son collaboration between Matthew and James King. They specialise in hand making bespoke garden tools that are built to last. While the collaboration may be young, this fledgling business has a long history that incorporates the family’s own story over four generations.

The FD Ryan workshop sits alongside the larger warehousing operations of the family’s main business—a bustling warehouse involved in importing garden tools for the Australian horticultural market. Matthew recalls that when he began working in the family business, started by his blacksmith grandfather Frederick Daniel Ryan in 1933, it was heavily involved in metal manufacturing (in particular, steel caps for the booming footwear industry in Fitzroy, Melbourne). But with the decline in Australian manufacturing, and iconic brands like Blundstone shipping operations offshore, the business had to change. ‘We went from being a manufacturer to an importer,’ says Matthew. And so a workshop full of steel manufacturing tools, some of them over 100 years old, lay dormant for nearly 20 years.

Pip Brains Trust

Brains Trust

Question for the Pip Brains Trust? Email

My cucumber seedlings wilt every day in the hot sun. They come back to life every evening after a good water, but is this ideal? Should I have planted them somewhere shadier? [Nicole, Umina Beach, NSW]

When plants lose more water than they can take up from the soil, the pressure inside their cells is reduced which leads to wilting. Generally plants have stopped growing before wilting is visible and there is a point beyond which plants cannot recover. Cucurbits like pumpkin, zucchini and cucumber have large, broad leaves and it can be difficult to prevent them from wilting on hot days, even with good soil moisture, but they usually bounce right back as you’ve observed. It’s not ideal, but they will probably be fine. In hot weather, I give my cucurbit seedlings some partial shade (e.g. placing an old milk crate over the top) while they get established, and you may find they perform better in a position with some afternoon shade. [Kat]

Preserving Pomodori: Your Complete Guide To Tomato Preservation


Preserving tomatoes is one of the easiest ways to get a homemade larder started. Over summer and autumn, tomatoes are so abundant, whether you grow them yourself or buy them by the box from your favourite fruit and veg shop or market. If you’re organised and ready to give preserving tomatoes a go, it’s quite possible to bottle, dry and brew up a year’s supply of tomato sauces and condiments in a timely fashion. Yes, you may well be splashed red by the end of the process, but that’s what summer preserving is all about, isn’t it?

Both big and small tomatoes are fine for preserving, but you may want to approach them in different ways. There are ‘sauce tomatoes’ like Roma and San Marzano; tomatoes that have been bred to be fleshy instead of juicy, so you get more sauce per tomato. But any tomato will work for the below techniques, so use whatever you can get hold of.

If you’re growing tomatoes, preserving needs to fit in with your schedule as you’ll be doing a bit here, a bit there, as they ripen over the season. If you’re buying tomatoes by the box, it’s more a case of setting aside a few days to get it all done at once. Go, go, tomato!



Featuring 30 artists and collectives, the 15th Dandenong Ranges Open Studios event offers visitors a unique exhibition and open studio weekend. Explore and connect with artists, ignite your creative imagination and step into the hidden gems, curious constructions and awe-inspiring spaces of the artists’ environments.

Many of the artists engage with natural and environmentally focused processes, and live in sustainability-aware studios and homes. You will have the unique opportunity to purchase artwork and hand-crafted items directly from the artists, informed by new insight into their creative world.

Pip Picks: Things We Like


This house is crafted so beautifully that if we weren’t way too big to fit, we’d be moving right in. The Biome Bee House is designed to provide a safe home for Australian native bees, who are more fragile than the European honey bee. They also like their own space, which is why the nooks and hollows of this design is perfect for them. Sold through eco store Biome, the bee house is made by members of the Indooroopilly Men’s Shed. The materials used come from recycled pallet boxes and weed bamboo that has been cleared from around Brisbane.


Rosewood Farm: A Radical Retrofit


When I first came to look at the property we now call home, the house was far from ideal. It faced south, had small dark rooms, the kitchen was poky and a wide verandah ran down the length of the north side, preventing any sunlight from finding its way in.

The soil was lush though, the house had significant potential for improvement, it was two minutes from town (Pambula, far south coast NSW) and the local school, and it had a certain charm. It was also set back off the road, surrounded by trees and farmland. All the infrastructure was already in place, it had power, a 130,000-litre water tank, a dam, ponds, a half-converted barn, a four bay work shed, an onsite caravan and two and a half acres to start living the dream life we had always wanted; growing fruit trees and vegies, having animals and providing a beautiful life for our children.

Having just sold up and moved from Melbourne, we were ready to buy when it was available. The price tag was relatively low compared to what we were used to in the Melbourne market. Looking at the property, we really had to have vision to see what we would be able to do to make the house more solar passive and user-friendly. We spent six months in the house while we did up the barn, then we moved into the barn while we did up the house.

Permaculture Around The World


How we address food in our communities is a powerful agent for positive change. Incredible Edible Todmorden is an example of community permaculture in action. People from this old textile town in West Yorkshire are coming together as volunteers to grow fruits, herbs and vegetables around the town for everyone to share. It’s simple and powerful, and has grown into a movement.

You’ll find herbs at the station, a pollinator street garden, medicinals at the health centre, and community food everywhere. They encourage people to shop and share locally and work together to create markets, festivals, meals, classes, gardens and a thriving network. The community has transformed itself through this project. There is a feeling of cohesiveness, positivity and a rippling out of influence. Their focus on relocalising food by bringing people together to grow, harvest, cook, eat and celebrate together is building a stronger, kinder and friendlier community.


Robyn Rosenfeldt

For those of you who haven’t noticed the double digits on the spine, I am proud to announce that Pip has reached issue no. 10! It’s a coming of age, a marker of success, and a sign that we are here to stay. We are coming into our fifth year of publishing and starting to really reach out to the world.

This issue, we focus on what we can do in our lives right here and now to live more simply. You don’t have to sell up and go and live in the country; you can do a lot to change the world right from your very own kitchen table (hence the teapot on the cover).

We have an extract from David Holmgren’s book RetroSuburbia (Melliodora Publishing, 2018), which focuses on what you can do while living in suburbia, which is where 90% of the population live. David shares ideas of what we can do in our homes and gardens, and the choices we can make to create a better work/life balance.