Category 14

Kids’ Patch

Our kids’ patch winner for issue 14 is Hunter Williams from the Otways in Victoria. Congratulations! You’ve won the Formidable Vegetable Sound System’s CD, Grow Do It.

Next issue we are giving away a copy of Milkwood’s latest book Easy Peasy Gardening For Kids. To be in the running, parents can email a photo through to along with your child’s name, age and suburb.

Permaculture animal: Dog


Dogs are a very popular pet, being the most common pet in Australia. They can provide various services in a permaculture system, however they need good training, space to run and a sustainable source of food, so serious planning is required before deciding to add a dog to your system.


Many of the services that dogs provide stem from being able to smell and hear better than humans—they can let us know something is amiss before we can sense it for ourselves. I had a dog that would alert me to neighbour’s cattle getting through the fence, poultry out of the pen, nearby snakes and many other unexpected events, as well as visitors arriving. These abilities can also be tailored to specific circumstances; for instance dogs trained to sniff out ripe truffles.

How To Build A Cold Frame

heat-loving plans to thrive. The magic behind them is that they help extend the season of your crops, meaning you’re stretching summer at either end. This is always a good thing when your winters are long and drizzly.

Unlike hothouses or glasshouses, cold frames are built close to the ground (usually 0.5 m–1 m high) and are designed to raise seedlings, harden off young plants or grow annual heat-loving vegies that don’t get very tall.

While we were initially thinking of building a large glasshouse, we eventually changed our plans in response to our context. Our steep slope and lack of available flat land has seen us prioritise outdoor growing and play spaces. This all meant a smaller cold frame would be more appropriate. It’s also a heck of a lot easier and cheaper to build. Wins all round!

Permaculture Africa: Feeding The Farmers First

Poverty in many rural African villages is extreme. Up to half of the children in these villages are still suffering from stunting and malnutrition. Soil degradation and poor crop yields are ubiquitous. Fifty years of projects run by donor and government groups aimed at the rural poor in Africa have had very little impact. What is having an impact are some small projects aimed at growing more food for the household.

The reason the majority of projects that deal with food security in rural Africa have been failing is because they are all commercial projects. They follow the idea that subsistence farming must be replaced by commercial farming for development to go ahead.

In reality, on the land available to these villagers, commercial crops are rarely worth much. The most sensible strategy for these smallholder families is to intensify their production of food crops for home consumption and to sell only the surplus that is produced after all their food needs have been met. I call this ‘feeding the farmers first’.

Waste-Free Pets

People clearly love having pets and have done so throughout history. The majority of pet owners view their animals as being part of the family. In Australia, approximately 62 per cent of households own a pet— domestic dogs and cats are the most common pets (with 4.8 and 2.8 million dogs and cats, respectively, recorded in 2016).

And the desire for pet ownership seems to be increasing, as the dog population rose by 600 000 between 2013 and 2016. Australians spend more than $12.2 billion on pet products and services each year. So we are talking about a massive industry and a whole lot of mouths to feed.

Most people feed their dog or cat pre-prepared and processed pet food, and the majority of pet accessories available are made from synthetic and plastic materials. The environmental impacts of owning a pet are often not immediately apparent, but with a considered approach, you can keep the impact of owning a pet to a minimum.

Winter Woollen Cowl Pattern

Most people have a preference for either crocheting or knitting, so here’s a pattern for each. These are super simple patterns that will make you a beautiful woollen cowl to keep your neck warm in the cooler months.

These cowls can be made with any type of wool. Be on the lookout at op shops and markets for recycled or leftover yarn. Swap with friends or raid mum or grandma’s stash. These also suit homespun yarns if you are a spinner or if you know a spinner.

Letters To The Editor

Letters to the Editor

Email your letters and photos to au. We’d love to hear what you think of Pip and if you’ve embarked on any projects as a result of our articles. Each issue, one published entrant will receive a limited edition Pip Magazine art print, printed with archival inks on beautifully textured archival 300 gsm rag paper.

Dear Robyn,

I found your magazine in the local library after having a baby and looking for things to read whilst breastfeeding. I loved the article on Kat Lavers and her inspiring garden [Issue #10] and was motivated to book a tour of her place through the Open Gardens Victoria program. It was so fabulous! I’ve now joined a local gardening group and have an upcoming Permablitz to look forward to.

Brains Trust: Waste-Free Living

Brains Trust

This issue we’re answering your questions about waste-free living. Got a burning question? You haven’t missed out. You can email us ( and we will answer your question on our blog over at

I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information on waste, and I want to reduce my household’s waste, but I’m not sure where to start. Do I need to buy anything first? (Catherine, Launceston, TAS)

We’ve found a smart way to approach the shift to waste-free living is to work out exactly what waste you’re making. We recommend beginning with auditing your waste, by counting it as it goes into the rubbish or recycling bin. That will give you a good starting point to improve upon and help you identify your main streams of waste. Food waste makes up around half the average household bin, so we’d recommend eliminating that first. Then, you can find ways to access food and products without packaging. You don’t need to buy anything to begin with, but some sturdy cloth bags and a few jars can help. You can often find these second hand or you can make your own cloth and produce bags (see Pip issue 10). Shifting to waste-free living needn’t cost anything at all.

Environmental Guilt


Finally the concept of living sustainably is becoming more mainstream and people are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental issues of our time. As we engage with mainstream media and social media we are seeing more ways to reduce our waste, grow our own food, create less carbon emissions, pollute the planet less and generally live more in harmony with the planet.

This is really heartening as the first step to making change is to be aware of the problem and then have the knowledge around what you can do help fix it. Knowing what effect your actions have on the planet enables you to make informed choices. But on the flip side, all this awareness can become a bit overwhelming, and for some it may feel like it’s hard to keep up.

Buy local, grow your own, make your own, waste not, say no to plastic, drive less, consume less—all these things are super important but it is hard to do the right thing all the time in all areas of your life. To do all these things requires a slow journey of small changes and we can’t do them all at once.

The Healing Power Of Bone Broth

Bone broth, or stock, is a culinary art and medicinal food that has been used for generations and has recently made a comeback as a popular gut healing food. Broth is made when animal bones are simmered gently for many hours in a pot of water, rendering the minerals and nutrients into a form the body can easily assimilate.

Enjoy the medicinal benefits of broth by including it in soups and stews, or your daily cuppa, bread and occasional cake. You will not only be adding lots of flavour but also healing your gut lining, curing inflammation, easing your food budget and boosting your food ethics.