Category 32

Issue 32 Flipbook

Issue 32 Flipbook

Pip’s Issue 32 is packed full of inspiration and information to start the new season on the front foot. As well as showing you how to create a diverse living pantry at your place and providing an in-depth guide to pruning fruit trees, we take you into four nonna’s kitchens who share their pasta-making secrets and visit an organic farm in NSW’s Northern Rivers where a shared farming arrangement is creating far more than nutrient-dense food.
You’ll meet an Indigenous woman who makes possum-skin cloaks, learn how to turn your winter produce into delicious dishes and discover how easy it is to make biochar at home. As well as all our regular seed-saving, foraging and how-to guides, we’ll take you on a tour of a small sustainable studio-style home, give you a bunch of tips for growing food in winter and remind you of the importance of allowing yourself the time to rest and recharge.

PRUNING FRUIT TREES – How and when to prune fruit trees to maximise your harvest


Pruning deciduous fruit trees promotes reliable harvests and supports your trees to grow both stronger and healthier. But knowing when and how to prune them is the key to success.

Fruit trees benefit from being pruned annually, but understanding how to prune your trees can seem complex and intimidating at first glance. It doesn’t need to be. Pruning simply involves removing unwanted branches from the tree using secateurs, loppers or a pruning saw in a way that balances fruit and vegetative growth and encourages a desired shape.

While productive trees will grow and bear a harvest without any pruning, there are some key reasons why trimming them up annually is a good idea. The first is to create a good shape and structure for a young tree – a foundation that will encourage strength and stability to bear large fruit loads or endure winds without snapping – while keeping the tree canopy open to allow for good amounts of airflow and sunlight.

BIOCHAR – How to make Biochar to improve your soil


Said to have the ability to both battle climate change and restore soils, biochar has plenty of benefits for backyard growers.

Biochar is charcoal made by burning woody materials, agricultural waste or any dried organic material like manures in a low-oxygen environment. Unlike charcoal, biochar is intended for combining with soil and has some properties that make it excel at this.

For your soils to get the most out of biochar, it should be ‘charged’, which means soaked in a nutrient-rich mix such as manures, urine, worm castings or compost. Left uncharged, it can bind nutrients and make them less available, at least in the short term. Even uncharged, biochar will eventually still improve the nutrient-holding capacity and exchange in soils.

PASTA LOVE – Learn how to make pasta from Italian nonne


Much can be made of pasta but ultimately its beauty lies in its simplicity. In its most basic form, fresh pasta is simply flour plus hydration in the form of water or eggs.

The simple act of making pasta is an act of love. Watch any nonna make pasta and this is abundantly clear. Pasta feeds people. It can be the easiest meal to prepare or the most intensive labour of love. It can have just three or four ingredients. It can showcase the finest truffles or wild mushrooms, decadent and special. But ultimately it feeds people, lots of people.

The world of pasta is seemingly endless. There are more shapes than you could name and, confusingly, there are often multiple names for the exact same shape, but the four elements of any pasta dish are the same; shape, starch, sauce and fat. Bringing these all together in the pan is the best way to finish a pasta dish.

SEASONAL EATING – The flavour and environmental benefits of eating with the seasons


Embracing seasonality is about understanding the cycles of the land and the climate – even, or especially, as it changes – and knowing they have the ability to make things taste the best possible versions of themselves.

Seasonality has a unique ability to present fresh foods to you at their highest peak of tastiness. Winter frosts bring out the sugars of sprouts and parsnips; sunshine doesn’t just sweeten summer’s peaches but develops an authentic depth of flavour, too.

Immersing yourself in seasonal produce can be a much- needed reminder of how much potential there is in seasonal cooking and eating, and in the joy these foods bring. Use winter’s wealth of deep green (or purple, or red) leaves to wrap up bundles of warm savoury fillings. Shred them for dumplings and serve with an aromatic broth.

REBUILDING – Creating a small and sustainable home as a female owner-builder


One owner-builder’s story of creating a small sustainable home for herself using her experience and love of permaculture.

Megan Cooke spent 17 years building her dream home and permaculture garden with her husband-at-the-time. Then they separated, and she had to leave it all behind. She took everything she’d learned in the first build, and in her many years as a horticulturist, and started again.

She has now built a solar-passive rammed-earth studio home, with a vintage caravan called Frankie for her teenage daughter, on a smart block inland from the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

‘When I met my ex-husband it was our dream to build an earth house with permaculture gardens. For 17 years I had put my heart and soul into building the three-bedroom, one-bathroom home with ensuite, plus a studio downstairs that I rented out as an Airbnb and taught my permaculture workshops from.

HELP & HEALING – How accepting help allowed a family and their farm to heal and regenerate


There’s a successful shared-farming arrangement playing out in Lismore, NSW that was born out of a pretty extreme set of circumstances. But it proves that if we can shed the societal expectation that all exchanges around gain need to be financial, the benefits can be life-changing.

In the northern rivers of New South Wales lies a thriving certified-organic 16-acre farm. On it Mark Bayley is continuing the work he and long-time partner Sara Tindley started almost 10 years ago when they acquired an old macadamia orchard in search of new beginnings.

With a shared commitment to regenerate and heal the land, the couple cleared the majority of the ageing 1200 nut trees to make way for native and endemic plants, earmarked and began work on rainforest regeneration areas, planted over 300 new fruit trees and moved a house from Lismore onto the property to make the place their home. Mark and Sara then turned their attentions to market gardening on a one- acre plot, and launched Singing Farmer Organics which they built and grew into viable and rewarding venture.

RADICAL REST – Follow nature’s lead and allow yourself to slow, rest and recharge


Like nature all around us, we’ve had a busy autumn. We have been frantically storing autumn’s bounty, socialising in the warm weather and ticking off to-do lists. We are ready to curl up in a warm spot and hibernate. But how do we surrender to rest, when it feels like there’s so much to do?

While our work has the incredible potential to be fulfilling and take us where our heart leads, it can sometimes become overwhelming and feel like there’s too much to do right now. Rest can slip right down to the end of the priority list, so it’s important to keep tabs on what working sustainably looks like for you.

We work in a world that celebrates toxic productivity, and we’re made to feel like resting is lazy and that we have to complete a heroic amount of work to deserve it. But we don’t. Rest is a right, not a reward.

LIVING PANTRY – Designing an edible ecosystem in your backyard


More than just an edible garden, designing a functional living pantry is to create a thriving ecosystem that nourishes itself and all those who visit it.

A living pantry is place of repose, a feast for the senses, a celebration of diversity that not only sustains people, but provides food, water and habitat for an abundance of other species. A garden that is beautiful, practical and productive.

It is a place where you can forage and it is the garden that dictates what’s on the menu. A garden for picking flowers, connecting with nature and drawing food from. Edible perennials, herbs and vegetables grow amongst grasses, flowering shrubs, indigenous plants and annual flowers; a garden that is biologically diverse.

AMANDA JANE REYNOLDS – Indigenous artist, storyteller, possum-skin cloak maker and sharer of knowledge


Amanda Jane Reynolds is a Guringai Yuin woman. She’s an artist, storyteller, possum skin cloak maker, curator and a sharer of knowledge.

Amanda lives on Yuin Country at Burrill Lake on the New South Wales south coast. She regularly travels to Sydney to maintain her cultural connections to Country and community. Her role as a traditional cloak maker began in her late 20s.

‘I had met and was inspired by some women in Victoria who were tasked by the Old People with bringing possum- skin cloaks back into daily life in our communities.’ She worked for many years doing the support role; curating, storytelling, organising and helping support the vision of these women before she felt like she had earned her place to make them herself.