Pip’s Issue 30 is packed full of inspiration and information to bring in the productive food-growing season. We share our in-depth guide to growing your pumpkins, squash, melons and zucchinis, we explain the hows and whys of keeping a highly productive worm farm, guide you on how you can be best prepared for this year’s fire season and take you on a tour of a stunning and sustainable off-grid family home. We take a deep dive into the current state of electric vehicle ownership, inspire you to grow ingredients for refreshing summer drinks and even show you how to harvest and prepare sea urchins, which can help restore ocean ecosystems. As well as all of our informative regulars, you’ll learn natural ways to keep pests out of your vegie patch, how to save your homegrown garlic for seed, and meet a woman who has finally found the time and space to live the life she’s always dreamt of.
Also known as winter and summer squash, cucurbits are warm-weather annuals that may be eaten fresh (like zucchini and melons), or stored for the cooler months (like pumpkins and squash). Now’s the time to get ready for a bumper crop from these easy-to-grow plants in small and large gardens alike.
Mysterious creatures that turn our green waste into a power pack of microbial- and nutrient-rich castings, worms are essential to both soil and plant health.Creating your own worm farm is inexpensive, easy and a fantastic way to turn vegie scraps, coffee grounds, newspapers and even eggshells into a rich resource that builds soil and increases plant health. Low maintenance, worms require little more than a couple of handfuls of vegie scraps each week applied to their shaded home, and what they will give you in return is pure garden gold.
Looking every bit a strange creature from the deep, sea urchins are a seafood delicacy. But not only are they good for you and breeding in abundance, they’re playing a significant role in our underwater ecosystems.There are 950 different species of sea urchin found in all parts of the world, of these about 18 are edible. In Australia there are three main sea urchin species harvested for eating; the purple or short-spined sea urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma), the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii) and the red sea urchin (H. tuberculata).
With the summer months upon us, now’s the time to look at how to turn the food you have growing in your garden into refreshing cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.Growing cocktail garden you can harvest from your garden is a lot more than growing garnishes. It’s about selecting the right botanicals which will impart a unique flavour and ultimately become a key ingredient and integral part of the cocktail.Whether you’re growing herbs such as common mint, exotic fruits such as African-horned cucumber, or chilli varieties such the Aleppo pepper, every plant has a role to play in both the garden and in the glass.
These owner builders set out to blend open- plan communal living with soft edges, natural materials and exquisite attention to detail.After living in a tiny house for four years, Adam and Sian’s dream of strawbale home started to take shape in 2017 when they purchased half an acre of land on Gadubanud country, in Deans Marsh, Victoria. A north-facing township block with a gentle fall to the north, it was a blank canvas of pastureland, apart from five mature fruit trees. Importantly though, it boasted high-clay soil which they were able to use in the construction of their home.With experience in construction specialising in natural building, Adam designed the house with a commitment to make it as sustainably as possible. Now, six years on, the result is a 227 m2 single-level, solar-passive designed building with a star rating of 7.9.
We’ve known for decades our transport choices are impacting the health of the planet and its inhabitants. So where are we at right now in terms of EV ownership in Australia?Australia is massive; a land of sweeping plains and very long roads. With our relatively low population and mostly underwhelming public transport system, it’s no surprise that as a country, we love our cars and are often dependent on them. We have the second-highest rate of car ownership in the world, behind the US, to prove it.But it’s coming at a huge environmental cost: last year the transport sector made up 19 percent of Australia’s emissions, according to the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. Passenger cars and light commercial vehicles contributed 60 percent of that (and over 10 percent of Australia’s total emissions). The department’s website states that ‘without intervention, the transport sector is projected to be Australia’s largest source of emissions by 2030’.
Many answers to how we can live long and happy lives can be found by looking at the common traits of the communities in the world with the longest-living populations.There has been a lot of talk lately about what helps us live to a ripe old age and how we can enjoy health and happiness along the way. And it seems that the answers are surprisingly simple.It doesn’t require fancy diets, expensive supplements or well-intentioned gym memberships. If we look to the ‘blue zones’, which are regions of the world with the highest concentration of centenarians, we find common traits exist across these communities. And although genetics does play a part in the likelihood of us living longer, it only accounts for 25 percent of factors that affect ageing.
When we think about fire preparation, our first thoughts are usually about cleaning up around the house. But as we head towards what’s tipped to be a particularly hot summer, there’s plenty we can learn from people who have survived catastrophic bushfires.The unseasonably warm and dry spring Australia just experienced has followed a triple La Niña weather event. The increase in rainfall during the last three summers has contributed to thick forest undergrowth which, as temperatures increase, is drying out.There’s nothing we can do that will have any bearing on the extreme temperatures Australia is expecting this fire season, but there’s things we can do to prepare, and designs we can implement that can put you and your family on the front foot if the unthinkable happens in the future.
After years coveting a better way of life, environmental artist Liz Walker has found the home, time and space to do just that.If you didn’t know better, you’d peg Liz Walker as an incurable hoarder. Countless boxes of rubbish fastidiously and lovingly collected from the beach and streets nearby her Mornington Peninsula home are dotted around her work spaces, while the downstairs room housing her stores of preserves would be the envy of the most earnest of doomsday preppers.But Liz Walker is nothing of the sort. A highly accomplished artist, the piles of plastic, rope and objects – all washed and meticulously sorted – play an important role in her artwork which probes at the social and environmental issues affecting us all. And the storeroom? Well that’s just a labour of love.