Category 23

Pip Noticeboard


Off-Grid Festivities

The 2022 Off-Grid Linving Festival is being held over 9–10 April at Centennial Park in Eldorado, Victoria, just 75 km southwest from the border town of Albury. Now in its fifth year, the two-day event takes in all things sustainability as it aims to inspire and connect people with an interest in reducing their home’s impact on the planet. From the latest technology through to bush survival skills, the festival explores 10 fundamental topics of off-grid living. For more info or to book tickets, head to



Welcome to Issue 23 of Pip and our eighth year of bringing you great content. I’m realising our content is now more relevant than ever and I can see the growing interest in the importance of being more sustainable and self-reliant.

I’m not talking about complete self-sufficiency, instead about having a few things in the garden or in pots to eat. But as well as a garden’s potential to provide food, it plays an equally important role as a place to escape to, to just be with your plants and to be in the here and now.

With our lives being more home based, it’s great to have that outlet, however it may look. Whether it be a sprawling vegie garden, a small backyard patch or just a few plants on a sunny windowsill, having that green life to immerse yourself in, to care for and have the satisfaction of watching grow is therapeutic.

Permaculture Around The World


Organiclea is a community farm at the northern edge of London in the Lea Valley next to the ancient woodland Epping Forest which, incredibly, has been continuously forested since neolithic times. The 12-acre farm started in 2008 and is run as a cooperative. Leased from Waltham Forest Council, they’re working together to develop and implement a food strategy by helping local schools create gardening programs.

With a focus on diverse plantings, rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, recycling, food sovereignty and more, the project is recognised as a Permaculture Association Land Project, a national network of model demonstration sites across the UK.

The farm hosts a forest school, organises permaculture design courses, practical workshops and open days, as well as creating a space for people to come and learn and work for positive change in rewilding the area and working towards food sovereignty. The cooperative runs a food box scheme, a farm shop and nursery.

Pip Picks – Things We Like


Mikkoa Travel Yoga Mat

This foldable, machine-washable yoga mat has a non-slip base made from natural rubber and a moisture-wicking vegan suede top which is free of chemicals, plastics, silicones or phthalates. The mat measures 183 cm long and 68 cm wide, weighs in at 900 grams and is available in six different designs. The Australian-based company will plant a tree with each purchase, to help restore Australia’s native forests following the country’s catastrophic 2020 bushfire season.


5 Common Pests & Diseases


It sometimes feels like as soon as we begin to enjoy our garden, so do the pests and diseases! Warm and damp weather can promote lush growth on our plants, which seems to send a signal to pests and diseases to come in and take up residence.

But identifying the common ones and knowing how to manage them will ensure our plants and ecosystems stay healthy and in balance. Because for many of our pests there is a natural predator ready to devour them for us, eliminating the need to resort to sprays. So while keeping our plants in tip-top condition can be challenging, observation is our first line of defence.

It’s important to understand your garden needs to have pests in order to have predators, so try and resist the urge to manage them immediately and wait and see if nature will solve the problem for you.

Brains Trust

Brains Trust

How do I know how much honey to take at the end of summer to ensure the bees have enough honey to last them through winter?

It’s really important that we leave enough honey for the colony to survive on during the months of winter. Bees collect nectar all spring and summer to store and make honey. The honey they make and store is eaten and keeps the colony fed when there is nothing left to forage. When they eat the honey, they transform the carbohydrates into energy by vibrating their wing muscles to produce heat and maintain a constant temperature inside the hive and around the winter cluster.

The honeycomb also provides an important insulation barrier against the cold. The amount of honey you should leave depends on the size of the colony you have at the end of the season. In a standard-size langstroth hive where you have one full box of brood and bees, you should also leave one full box of honey, or about eight frames. In a full Kenyan top-bar hive, leave eight bars of honey. In a three-quarter-size hive, leave six, and in a half-size Kenyan hive, four bars. Check your bees’ stores in the last two weeks of winter to see if they’ve got enough to get them through until spring when the blossoms start to open.

Letters To The Editor

Starting point

Thanks for your latest edition, I’m loving what you’re doing. I have saved my own seeds for years, but got slack after moving and was caught wanting when the pandemic caused a seed crisis. As a person who would only buy and use one packet of seeds, I was incredulous when I couldn’t source any – even online! Unfortunately, most people who bought up big on the seeds would probably never use that many, and many seeds got wasted. Thankfully, a few of my seed-saving friends saved the day.

I would love to see some more articles featuring Darwin and its surrounding areas. Our climate is a bit different to places like Cairns, Katherine, Kununurra or Broome. Soil health, like most tropical arid climates, is devoid of nutrients but, with lots of composting, we can get it into shape and grow lots of wonderful fruit and vegies.

It also amuses me that something like a southern-grown lettuce is really popular, when we have so many greenleaf alternatives common in southern Asia that grow like weeds up here in Darwin. Anyway, keep up the good work. It puts a smile on my face whenever your magazine hits the newsagent’s shelves.

Indigenous – Spiritual Connection

Connecting to country is about being still, asking permission and using your senses in order to reveal what she is really saying. Spiritual connection to country is important for me; I will always make my presence known at a location and mentally or verbally ask permission from the guardians and Elders past if it is okay I be there. A gentle breeze, a rustle of leaves or a birdcall at that precise moment is validation. Sit still, observe and tune in. How do you feel? Safe, comfortable, relaxed? Do you feel welcome?

Urban Foraging – Neptune’s Necklace


Neptune’s Necklace (Hormosira bansi), also known as sea grapes or bubbleweed, is made up of fronds of water-filled beads attached to the substrate by a thin disc (holdfast). When foraged responsibly, it makes a healthy addition to your diet and your soil.

Neptune’s Necklace is found in the rocky intertidal zone from Albany in Western Australia through to northern New South Wales, and around Tasmania and New Zealand. It can also be often found free-floating among mangroves.

It can be harvested all year round but is at its most prolific in the cooler months. Like all seaweeds, Neptune’s Necklace provides important protective habitat for lots of species, offering both moisture at low tide and shade. Reducing its canopy by as little as as 25 percent can dramatically impact the animals residing within it.

Save Your Seeds – Parsnip


Pastinaca sativa – pastura in Latin means food and sativa means cultivated.


The parsnip we know today evolved from the wild parsnip which is still growing in Europe and Asia. It was a staple in the middle ages, but fell into disuse with the rising popularity of the potato. It is naturalised in New Zealand.


Parsnip is a root vegetable grown for its large, creamywhite roots. It’s closely related to parsley and carrots which all belong to the flowering plant family Apiaceae.