Category 18

Carve by Hand: Swedish Smörkniv


For the love of good cutlery, we all need a hand-carved Swedish butter knife in our lives. And the best thing is you can carve your own smörkniv from trees growing in your garden.

Hand-carved butter knives are strong, sturdy and a work of art. They range from simple, elegant forms through to animal-shaped spreaders with matching dishes. They’re relatively simple things to make with a few low-tech tools and you probably won’t need to go any further than your garden to gather all the materials you’ll need.

Permayouth: In Their Hands

Credo is a 12-year-old refugee in Uganda and just one of many young people around the world who are using permaculture to build a bright and sustainable future.

Helping vulnerable people access permaculture needs to be a priority. With one percent of humanity currently displaced and half of all refugees aged under 18, permaculture is the ‘difference that makes a difference’. The UN World Food Program has warned by the end of 2020, one in 30 people could be pushed to starvation.

Credo Walola is a 12-year-old boy who has lived most of his life in a refugee camp in the far southwest of Uganda. Rwamwanja is home for over 70,000 refugees, mostly Congolese nationals like him. Life there is challenging and this year it has become even harder; schools have closed, food rations have halved and basic supplies are no longer reaching his camp. His friend, 15-year-old Salumu Itongwa, died a few weeks ago of blackwater fever.

Kids’ Patch

Our kids patch winners for this issue are two-year-old Wilde from Bright in Victoria and five-year-old Ryann from Geraldton in Western Australia. Congratulations, you’ve both won a copy of Grow Do It by Formidable Vegetable Sound System.

Next issue we are giving away a copy of The Runaway Dandelion by Jill Regensburg. To be in the running, parents can email a photo to editorial@ along with your child’s name, age and suburb, or post the picture on Instagram using the hashtag #pipmag


Considered a godsend by many a weary outback traveller, the bright scarlet-coloured fruit of the quandong tree – also known as the desert peach – has many beneficial uses.

Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) trees are widely dispersed throughout the arid inland and coastal regions of southern Australia including Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and New South Wales, with remnant communities in remote areas. A relative of the sandalwood, the quandong grows to a shrubby tree between four and five metres tall. It has long, narrow olive-coloured leaves which taper to a point and its golf-ball sized fruit turns from a greeny-yellow to a bright crimson when ripe.

Broad Beans

broad beans

Vicia fava – vicia was the name for vetch in Latin and fava for the bean itself.


Broad beans have been cultivated since prehistoric times in Europe. They were unearthed in the ancient city of Troy, found in Egyptian tombs as well as with Bronze Age artefacts in Switzerland, so their exact origin is difficult to determine. It is recorded that Romans used them as voting tokens and they reached China by the first century CE.


Broad beans are a hardy frost-tolerant plant. They are also called horse beans, fava beans and, in northern Africa where a smaller version is common, tick beans.

Growing Corn: Sow, Grow, Cook


Sweet and juicy, dried and ground, grilled, boiled or popped, it’s easy to understand why corn is a favourite all-round staple.

Fresh, frozen, ground into flour or made into porridge, polenta and tortillas. Hugely versatile, you can snack on corn raw, feed it to livestock, turn it into syrup, even convert it into ethanol. Originating in Mexico and spreading rapidly through the Americas, the humble grain has established itself as an essential in gardens and kitchens all around the world.


There are two main types of corn, field corn and sweet corn. Field corn varieties can be ground into flour, used for stock feed and other applications, while the fresh corn we all recognise is called sweet corn.

Fruit Fly: Protect Your Crop

Australia is home to more than 150 native species of fruit fly, but only a few of them pose a threat in the garden.

There are two main types of fruit fly. The Drosophilidae family, often called the vinegar fly which is the one you see around compost bins and fruit bowls. It’s tiny, between two and four millimetres in length, and can range in colour from pale yellow through to black.

The other is from the Tephritidae family which includes the two main flies affecting Australia’s backyard gardeners and commercial growers. There’s the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni), which is found on the east coast of Australia and, although it can’t fly too far, spreads easily by jumping from backyard to backyard. It’s hugely adaptable to its environment, so as climates change and backyards become more productive, this insect is becoming increasingly invasive and can’t be ignored. It’s larger than the vinegar fly, around seven millimetres in length, it’s reddish-brown in colour and easily identifiable by its distinct yellow markings.

Help Yourself: Eating The Suburbs


Becoming an urban forager means tapping into a resource of free and abundant food. But whether it’s foraging edible weeds, redistributing excess produce or even diving into a dumpster, there’s far more you can gain than just a free meal.

The savvy urban forager can dine out on gourmet cheese, berries, herbal teas and locally grown olives without ever stepping foot into a shop. But the philosophy goes further than just eating for free. You’ll reconnect with nature, save food going to landfill, learn plant names growing in your yard, parks and bikeways and connect with your neighbours.

Wild harvest

Wild harvest means collecting food that is often unknowingly growing around us and many of us discard as weeds. There is a bounty of culinary and medicinal plants ready to be put to good use. Close to the ground you will find dandelion, nettles, wild fennel, plantain and chickweed, while apples, figs, olives and riberries are a few examples of what can be found on trees and shrubs.

Flour, Water, Salt: Sourdough 101


More than just a food fad, sourdough is an ancient practice of breadmaking that has captured our imaginations for centuries.

Among many things, a sourdough starter bubbling away on your kitchen bench means you’re taking care of your gut health through the proper preparation of grains. You’re connecting with nature in the form of the microorganisms and wild yeasts that are hanging out in your kitchen, and you’re slowing your life down in a nourishing way.

What Is It Exactly

Sourdough is the way people have made bread for centuries. Before commercial yeast and the quick-rise industrial loaf, bread was made using three simple ingredients: flour, water and salt. A sourdough bread culture – or starter – is made with a mixture of flour and water which, with time, captures wild yeasts from the air in your home and forms a relationship with the bacteria on the grain. When a small amount of this bubbly, active starter is added to bread dough it causes the dough to rise slowly over many hours.

Self-reliance: A New Normal

A rise in interest in permaculture during the pandemic has highlighted the important role its practices play in building household and community resilience.

Faced with limited access to goods and services, many Australians turned to permaculture practices as a solution to the pressures associated with the coronavirus pandemic. From the early days when panic buying cleared supermarket shelves, to the recent higher-level lockdowns, more people are recognising the benefits a more sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle can have during a crisis.