Category 22

Letters To The Editor

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We’d love to see if we’ve inspired you to embark on any projects. The letter of the issue will receive a limited-edition Pip magazine print featuring archival inks on textured, 300 gsm rag paper. Email your letters and photos to editorial@pipmagazine.com.au

From the start

I just wanted to say a huge thank you! I recently subscribed and I have learnt so much already from one issue. The articles are written in a way that are easy to read and understand – particularly for those, like myself, who are at the beginning of their permaculture journey. I found there was just so much information online that it became overwhelming finding what were good starting points. Your magazine gives clarity and easy steps to make humbling progress. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t wait for the next issue.

Growing Capsicum – Ground Peppers

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Sweet pepper, bell pepper or capsicum, regardless of what you call it, this versatile vegetable is a firm favourite in households worldwide. As easy to grow in pots as they are in the ground, and with many varieties to choose from, capsicums are a delicious addition to the warm weather garden.

Capsicums are a fruiting vegetable from the nightshade or Solanaceae family, the same family as tomato, eggplant, chilli and potato. Although commonly considered a summer vegetable, capsicums are actually a short-lived perennial grown as an annual in cooler climates due to their frost-sensitivity.

Originating in Mexico and Central and South America before spreading throughout Europe and Asia, they contain very high levels of vitamin C and are a great source of antioxidants. While most of us would be familiar with the common red and green varieties, capsicums can be found in a rainbow of colours from orange right through to dark purple and black, so they have a cheery ornamental value in the vegie patch, too.

Trellising Tomatoes – Stake Holders

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There are so many variables when it comes to working out the best technique for trellising tomatoes. We can learn a lot from people who grow them for a living.

Opinions on the best way to trellis your tomatoes are many and varied. And for lots of gardeners, experimenting with different methods each year is all part of the fun of tomato season. But there are people who have grown more tomatoes in the last decade than many of us will grow in our entire lifetime. People who, depending on their climate, conditions and required results, have perfected tomato trellising techniques.

Fermented Drink – Rye Kvass

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Beet kvass is becoming well known among the fermented drink offerings now, but Sharon Flynn from The Fermentary in Daylesford, Victoria, loves this darker, more beer-like version made from bread.

Drink your stale bread? Yes! Ferment those leftovers and within a week or two it will have bubbled and fizzed into a delicious and nutritious drink with a flavour profile somewhere between cider and beer. Depending on how long you ferment your rye kvass for, and how much sugar you add to it, the wild yeasts can produce an alcohol content of up to 2.8 percent alcohol by volume, so this is not a drink for the kids.

There are many more familiar ways to make use of leftover bread. You can dry and use it for crumbing, for example, or turn it into delicious nostalgic puddings. But fermenting it into something else entirely is also a very satisfying thing to do with a stale loaf of good bread.

Backyard to Bowl – Homegrown Laksa Paste

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Laksa is a delicious medley of flavours originating in Malaysia and South-East Asia. Full of fresh ingredients, many are medicinal and most are easy to grow, especially if you live in a tropical climate.

Laksa has become iconic in the Australian city of Darwin, a multicultural melting pot that is reflected in its cuisine, colourful markets and local produce. From food stalls and restaurants vying for the fame of making the city’s best laksa, where recipes become closely guarded family secrets, through to the launch of the annual Darwin International Laksa Festival in 2019.

Tiny Home – A Little For A Lot

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For a yoga teacher with a passion for permaculture, building a tiny home from recycled materials became the perfect way to connect with her family and community.

Thirty-one-year-old Jess Hay grew up near Townsville, Queensland, with a large vegetable patch, free-range chickens and plenty of homegrown tropical fruits. But it wasn’t until she spent time living abroad at the end of high school that she became interested in permaculture.

‘I was living in the south of France 12 years ago with a retired couple who had created a permaculture food forest,’ explains Jess. ‘There were 10 or so houses that specialised in growing different foods and they all bartered with each other to sustain themselves. It was very inspiring.’

Editorial

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We have all been spending a lot more time at home lately. And it has given us an opportunity to become more familiar with our local spaces. Whether that be our own gardens, if we have them, our verges, our local parks and, if we’re lucky, our local wild places. We’ve had more time experiencing them, exploring them, getting to know them and potentially feeling a deeper connection to them.

These are our local spaces, our bit of land that we are a part of. You may have started to notice things about your local place. You might have noticed particular animals that reside in these areas, or plants when they blossom, fruit or drop their leaves. You might notice the extreme beauty of that place, or the degradation and damage that is there. This is all part of creating a connection to the land. And it is this connection that helps us care for the land.

In this issue, Trish Ellis, a local Indigenous elder shares with us her practice of Dadirri (see page 78). How we can connect to Country, taking the time to stop in a place and really connect with it and observe all that is there on a deeper level than just looking. This is a great way to help us deepen our level of connection.

Small-scale Farming – Fare Share

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With just enough money to pay for compost and mulch, plus a generous donation of land, Justin Hartley established the thriving and popular Duck Foot Farm: the first notill, small-scale and land-share farm in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales.

The importance of soil biology and health has become more apparent in recent times, partly perhaps spearheaded by books such as Matthew Evans’ Soil and Charles Massey’s Call of the Reed Warbler and, of course, a flourishing community of passionate permaculturalists across the globe. After centuries of using aggressive agricultural techniques that heavily cultivate land, many contemporary farmers are simplifying their farming methods by using no-till, no-dig or regenerative agriculture to inspire more environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices. It could spell the end of depleting soil health, spraying chemicals and poisoning waterways.

Pip Noticeboard

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When is the best time to mulch my garden?

Soil never wants to be bare, so whether you use your plants as a living mulch or cover the soil around your plants, always ensuring you don’t have exposed or bare soil reduces degradation. There are times though when a thick layer of mulch is not a great idea, like in winter with its heavy rainfall periods because young plants can rot if mulch is too thick and soggy around their bases. Mulch will hold moisture in the soil, so summer is a great time to ensure plants are mulched well. Just make sure your soil is well watered before spreading mulch and water again once it’s spread. Ensure mulch isn’t hard up against plants where they emerge from the soil, to reduce the risk of rotting and allow airflow.