Category 27

Issue 27 Flipbook

Pip’s Issue 27 is packed full of inspiration and information to nourish yourself and the planet.
We celebrate the traditional passata making day with a how to guide for any sized tomato harvest. We give you a list of things you can be doing now in order to ensure productive vegie yields right through the depths of winter.
Learn how to make a wicking bed to help grow a bumper harvest with minimal watering


Sit and breathe. I feel like it is a time where we all need to stop and take the time to sit and breathe occasionally. When did life get so hectic for everyone? Why are we all so busy?


I hope this issue encourages you to allow yourself to take a moment to sit – preferably with a beverage of your choice – and read and breathe. To take a moment to find some inspiration from the knowledge and experience of others, and to read stories of extraordinary actions of everyday folk who are making a difference in the world, in their own small way in their own neck of the woods.

We don’t all have to be out there conquering the world and solving all of its problems all at once. Sometimes just sharing some excess homegrown produce with others in your community (Give and Take, page 58) can make a big difference in someone else’s life, or doing your bit to preserve the little ecosystem that surrounds you (Networks in Ecosystems, page 72).

WINTER SUCCESS – Your autumn guide to getting the most from your patch in winter.


A productive winter garden is created in autumn. So even though the days are still long and the garden is pumping with end-of- season summer crops, ticking off a few jobs now will help ensure there’s plenty to harvest in the depths of winter.

While it’s hard to imagine that cooler weather will soon be arriving, having a productive winter garden means getting those important garden jobs done early. In between keeping up the water and harvesting your summer bounty, there are some key jobs you can do right now to set yourself up to be putting food on the table when the seasons finally turn.

Love Your Soil

Autumn is the perfect time to give your garden beds some extra care after hungry summer crops have depleted nutrients through flowering and vegetable production. A little attention now will replenish the most important element in your garden – soil – and lay the foundation for a productive season ahead. If you live in a hot and humid climate, autumn and winter may actually be your peak growing time – so getting the soil ready to go now is a must.

The first step is to clear any spent crops from your garden and dispose of diseased or pest-infested plants. Once your old crops are out, add some organic matter back in. Apply a ‘chop and drop’ method to healthy plants by cutting them off at the soil surface and laying them directly on the garden beds, chopping them into smaller pieces as you go. This keeps your soil structure intact and increases soil fertility by leaving the root organic matter in the ground to be food for the worms, in addition to the plants themselves being broken down gradually on the soil surface. Alternatively, you can add the plant matter to your compost pile.


Most people are content contributing just one task or role that’s making real and positive change. Not Morag Gamble, she’s got fingers in permaculture pies all over the world and, importantly, she practises what she preaches.

Morag Gamble is many things: founder of the Permaculture Education Institute, founder and executive director of the Ethos Foundation charity, cofounder of Northey Street City Farm in Brisbane and the Australian Community Gardens Network. She’s an ambassador, a writer, a filmmaker for her YouTube channel Our Permaculture Life, and the host of the permaculture podcast Sense-Making in a Changing World. She’s a wife and a mother and she lives with her family in an ecovillage on the outskirts of Brisbane.


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TRIED & TRUE – Product tests

If you don’t have the time or the confidence to forage for mushrooms, but aren’t particularly keen on store- bought varieties, there are plenty of kits available to grow your own. As well as the common boxes of button mushrooms, there’s a wide range of seasonal varieties you can purchase in kit form to grow yourself and the side-fruiting kits are probably the easiest.

Aussie Mushroom Supplies offers five varieties: Oyster, Australian Lions Mane, Australian Coral Tooth, Turkey Tail and Australian Reishi. Inside the shoebox- sized box is a bag filled with pre-inoculated substrate, meaning all you need to do is remove the bag from the box, cut an X on the side of the bag for the mushrooms to protrude from and create humidity by spraying filtered (or cooled boiled) water around the hole. It’s not like watering a plant, you don’t need to wet the actual block, you just need to spray around the cut in order to create enough humidity to kickstart the fruiting process.

Finding the best place to keep your kit can be tricky because it needs non-direct sunlight and not a lot of it – Aussie Mushroom Supplies says ‘enough light to read by’ – it needs at least 70 percent humidity, but also fresh air and cool-ish temperatures. But once you’ve found your spot, they’re pretty quick to grow.

It took three weeks for my kits to start fruiting and they were ready to harvest about 10 days later. And you can get a few flushes of fruit from the one block, too, which is great. In fact, after three harvests I added my blocks to the compost heap and I found they even fruited again (see image, right).


After surviving the Black Saturday bushfires, Terry Memory built his family of eight a vegie patch.

Determined to become more self-reliant in this era of unpredictable weather events and worsening health caused by highly processed food, he designed a system that combines ancient agrarian traditions with the latest in science and technology to deliver massively increased yields while radically reducing workload.

In this book, Terry’s overview of the deteriorating state of our food supply will inspire you to take a step towards self-reliance, while his practical tips and how-to guides will provide would-be food growers the tools needed to get going. Well researched and passionately argued – and with clear and accessible instructions – this is a book for anyone looking to cut costs, improve their health and help save the planet.

Terry and Gemma Memory and their six children have lived on their organic, self-sustainable farm in southern Tasmania for over a decade. As entrepreneurs, they have founded two successful health-food businesses and now devote their time to helping others understand the importance of creating their own food-secure future.

KIDS’ 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 – you might even pick up a copy of Wilam, A Birrarung Story. This issue’s winner is six-year-old Finley Cornwall-Wetton from Briagolong, Victoria.

IN THE GARDEN – February – May

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 SEED – Capsicum & chilli

Capsicum annum – from the Greek word, ‘to bite’, an allusion to the pungent properties of the fruit; annum is Latin for annual.


There is some controversy about the origins of chillies and capsicums. While some experts believe various species came from Mexico, it is generally accepted that the ancestors of chillies originated in an area of Bolivia and spread throughout Central and South America.


The minimum temperature for successful seed germination is 15 ºC. Seeds can be started indoors in winter and the seedlings planted out in spring when the danger of frost has passed. They require staking if strong winds are common.