Category 26


Robyn editorial #26

I’m really excited about bringing this issue to you. I love every bit of its content and I love the new cover art by Nastia Gladushchenko.

It seems the interest in all the ideas and practices we explore in the pages of Pip are becoming more mainstream. And that was exactly what I hoped when I started the title.

I didn’t want to be preaching to the converted, I wanted to reach out to people who just had a bit of an interest in living more sustainably, whether that be by growing food, reducing waste or making natural products. I wanted to open up a whole new world to those people, offering them lots of ideas and inspiration for new ways of living.

And it seems that more and more people are coming on board. Interest in growing food has increased, like it has in reducing waste and in living a more localised life. It’s not just radicals out in the bush, either. It’s all of us; from the cities to the regions, to the coast and out to the desert. You can see this reflected in the stories this issue. There’s Yen in outback Northern Territory (page 80), to the Farm My School project in regional Victoria (page 68) and over to gardens in New Zealand drawing on ancient wisdom to design productive ecosystems (page 74).

Pip partner: Diggers Club

Diggers featured image


Founded in 1978 by Clive and Penny Blazey, The Diggers Club believes gardeners are the secret weapon in combating climate change.

Whether it has been championing heirloom vegetable and flower seeds in the face of corporatisation, planting water- saving gardens or preserving historic homes and gardens such as Heronswood (circa 1857) and the Garden of St Erth (circa 1854), Diggers has always been much more than your typical garden company.

Now And Forever

The Diggers Club is now owned by The Diggers Foundation, which the Blazeys established in 2011 to ensure the gardens and the club’s heirloom seed-saving legacy will continue as a valuable resource for future gardeners to enjoy. All proceeds from Diggers memberships and product sales are used to help deliver programs on tree planting, seed saving and important education.

Ethical Marketplace

Pip partners with brands who align with its values. Ethical companies producing good- quality products that don’t harm the planet, instead aiming to improve it. Browse more ethical companies you can choose to support at


Whether it’s a uniquely designed BBQ to socialise around, a custom centrepiece for your backyard or you wish to maximise your backyard’s potential during the cold winter evenings – Unique Fire Pits can make your dreams a reality. Get a free accessory with every fire purchased.


Socks are a wardrobe essential that shouldn’t cost the earth. TORE, from TOtally REcycled – is the world’s first 100 percent recycled sock. One pack of TORE socks saves 1050L of water, diverts 2.4 plastic bottles and 0.6 T-shirts from landfill. TORE reduces the negative impacts of fast fashion, without compromising comfort or style.

Use the code PIP15 for a 15 percent discount.

TRIED & TRUE – Product tests

We all know the experience of being out and needing coffee, and realising you don’t have a cup on you.

But with everything else in your bag, it isn’t always practical to be carrying around a cup, not when you’re already carrying a drink bottle and all the other everyday essentials. Having to carry too many different reusable items has proven to be a barrier for many when trying to avoid single-use products.

Well KeepCup has realised this problem and created a water bottle that unscrews in half to turn into a cup. Dubbed the Helix range, you can buy just the bottle (and bottle lid), or a kit, which also includes a colour-matched lid for when you’re using it as a cup.

The bottom cup section comes in two different sizes; essentially the difference between a small and large coffee, but both are designed to fit under coffee machine heads. This also results in two sizes of bottle, the small-based bottle has a capacity of 530 ml, or 660 ml for the large.

Look and Listen: Book and Film Reviews

Almost every day we hear a call for us to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy, with the long-term goal for many being the widespread conversion to a vegan lifestyle. ‘Plant-based’ has become a term so worthy and ubiquitous that many people have forgotten their historic antipathy to an extreme vegan cause.

But what if the statistics driving the plant-based movement were misleading? What if it’s being driven by a coalition of vested interests that includes environmentalists, Big Pharma, Big Food, established dietary advice organisations – even a little-known but rich and powerful religious group with a longstanding commitment to a vegan diet? And what if removing animal foods from our diet posed threats to human health, and a red herring in the fight against climate change?

In The Great Plant-Based Con, Jayne Buxton explores the notion that these what-ifs might actually be real- world actualities and wants to spread the message that being dragged down a dietary road can have severe repercussions for not just our health and wellbeing and that of our children for decades to come, but also for the climate.

Kid’s Patch: Create, find, learn & laugh

We love seeing what kids are growing with their families in their gardens, so snap and email us an image of what you’re harvesting at the moment. Send the photo to – and you might even pick up this snazzy prize! This issue’s winners are Alex and Odie (3 & 6 years), from Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.

What To Do In The Garden: November – February


Seasonal garden guides for Australian climates

Moon planting

The moon’s phases and its associated gravitational pull has a significant effect on the behaviour of tidal oceans, so it’s easy to understand how the moon can have a similar effect on the moisture in our soils and plants. By planning what you sow to coincide with the phases of the moon best suited to the type of vegetable and how you’re planting, you’ll give yourself a higher chance of success as well as increase your yields.

Save Your Seeds: Watermelon


Citrullus lanatus – in Latin, citrullus is the diminutive of citrus and lana means wool, referring to the fuzziness of the young fruit.


Nineteenth-century explorer Dr David Livingstone found large patches of watermelon growing in central Africa. They are cultivated as well as found in a semi-wild state in Namibia and Botswana. In southern Russia and the Middle East, watermelons have long been grown and their seeds roasted. They reached China 1000 years ago, where their seeds are still the sole source of oil in some remote areas.


A rambling vine has small male and female flowers that become large, football-sized fruits. Watermelons need a long, hot growing season and a lot of space, but they are easy to cultivate in the right climate. Pruning of the vine is beneficial, but less so than for rockmelons (Pip, Issue 19). Watermelons prefer a loamy soil.

Urban Foraging: Cleavers


As suggested by the name cleavers, meaning to ‘cleave’ or stick together – all parts of this distinctive looking and edible plant will attach itself to nearly anything that brushes past it.

Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a member of the Rubiaceae family which originated from Europe and western Asia and has colonised in Australia. With common names including clivers, catchweed, sticky weed and even sticky willy, it has fine hook-like hairs which form on every part of the plant. Its botanical name ‘Galium’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Gala’ which translates to milk. Galium verum, or goosegrass, which is another member of the genus, was stirred through milk to make it curdle when making cheese.

How To Identify It

Cleavers is found in late spring and throughout summer, and favours a moist, nitrogen-rich, slightly acidic soil. It prefers full sun, but will grow in part shade, and its competitive and climbing nature means it’s usually in a dense, rambling mass. It will often climb over itself and favours growing against walls and fences where it can form a tangled mat.

Permaculture Plant: White ginger

This versatile perennial herb from the Zingiberaceae family has many uses – but beware its weedy potential.

Botanically Heychium coranarium, white ginger is also known as Cuban ginger and is the national flower of that country. During Spanish colonial times, women would hide messages for members of the independence movement inside the intricate flowers.


White ginger forms a dense, waist-high clump that spreads slowly and can be cultivated by dividing the rhizomes.

Rarely seen in nurseries, it’s naturally a tropical plant originating in Asia and will tolerate temperatures as low as –5 ºC, but will die back in winter outside tropical and warm subtropical climates.