Category 6

Easy-Peasy $4 Singlet Dress


Western societies have been enthralled by technology since the beginning of the industrial revolution. From mechanised looms to 3D printers, technology has lifted people out of poverty, increased life expectancy, freed us from menial work, reduced pain and suffering, and helped us to see the world in new and illuminating ways. However, technology is a two-edged sword, for it has also brought pollution, extinctions, an exploding human population, unemployment and, of course, the warming of our planet.


A permaculture approach to technology is more like the ‘slow food’ movement than the high-tech, cutting edge of modern industry. It is technology that works for us, not enslaving us to it. It is technology that connects us to our place and community. It is beautiful and enhances our lives. It is more like a long, slow lunch with friends than a drive-through takeaway.

CD & Book Reviews


by Matt and Lentil Purbrick (Pan Macmillan 2016).

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

This book is a visual feast of growing, gathering, nurturing, trading and eating. Lentil and Matt Purbrick take you on a journey through the seasons, sharing their experience of returning to nature and the lessons they have learned.

The ‘Grow’ chapter shows you how to grow vegetables and fruit in whatever space you have, using the most earth-friendly practices. ‘Gather’ explains how to forage for things like mushrooms, native greens and wild fruits. ‘Nurture’ provides guidance on raising your own animals, from chickens and bees to cows. ‘Eat’ features over 100 delicious, nourishing and creative wholefood recipes, giving you the skills to eat a natural wholefood diet; it covers everything from how to prepare and sprout grains in a traditional way, to making and maintaining

Julie Firth: Drylands Permaculture Farm


Julie Firth has created a permaculture oasis near Geraldton, Western Australia. Although not a true desert, the area clearly has a dryland climate, with annual rainfall as low as 200 mm during drought years, summer temperatures reaching well over 40 °C and relentless wind gusts of up to thirty kilometres per hour. It has taken careful design and thoughtful placement of features to allow things to grow there.

Julie is originally from New Zealand, and was working in the mining industry in WA when she bought her three hectare property of degraded land about ten kilometres north of Geraldton. Not long after buying the land she undertook her PDC with Bill Mollison and Jude Fanton in New South Wales, and immediately started to transform her property with renewed vision. So began her inspired development of the Drylands Permaculture Farm, and its associated Yilgarn Seeds and the Drylands Permacuture Nursery.

The property is designed in zones: intensive gardens close to the house, through to revegetation projects, and with dryland plants towards the outer boundaries. Shade is crucial, and there are sheltered walkways in all directions. Various structures or plants are used to delineate one zone from another, including archways, lippia herb lawns, strawbale seats, sculptures and fences. Other innovative structures used include: clay floors, sandbag garden edging, bottles and cans to fill gaps in walls, and recycled building materials.

Crop Succession Planning: Planting For Abundance


There comes a moment in every season when you realise you just can’t eat any more radishes … or cucumbers … or pumpkins … When your friends just won’t accept any more boxes of zucchinis, silently left on their doorstep. We’ve all been there – it’s the inevitable glut of seasonal gardening, and what a glorious and overwhelming moment of abundance it is.

Then, finally, the flood of vegetables ends and you’re left with the remains of broken-down mulch and plants running to seed, and not a vegie in sight. In this moment you might ask yourself: ‘Hey! What happened?’

This situation is common for many gardens, and is generally the result of a lack of planning. Unless environmental conditions have been catastrophically unfavourable, the sudden absence of vegies is a human problem, and something that can be easily avoided.

Save Your Seeds: Mustard Greens

Mustard greens Brassica juncea are a little-known leafy vegetable, typically grown over winter as they are quite frost-tolerant. They tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, and are easy to grow. Both leaves and flowers may be used raw in salads or cooked like spinach (which removes the hot flavour). With the onset of warmer weather these attractive plants will quickly set seed, and produce hundreds of tiny seeds per plant.

Life Cycle And Pollination:

An annual – will produce seed in the first year. Both self– and cross–pollinating: although self-fertile, plants will produce more seeds if regularly visited by insects. Will cross with Chinese mustard and other mustards. To ensure purity, grow varieties at least 400 m apart.

Resilience After Earthquakes In Nepal


On 25 April 2015 a massive earthquake struck Nepal, affecting the country and its people deeply. There was a series of earthquakes over several days, with the most devastating one reaching 7.8 on the Richter scale. As well as numerous small tremors, a further large earthquake of 7.3 magnitude hit on 12 May.

These earthquakes caused serious damage to many parts of the capital, Kathmandu; however, the worst of the damage was seen in the rural villages in fourteen districts surrounding the city. Over 9000 people were killed, and nearly a million homes were destroyed. Infrastructure, farms and businesses were also destroyed, and years of small growth and development wiped out.

Sunrise Farm in Rani Patati village, near Kathmandu, is a community farm owned and managed by Mr Shyam Shrestha and his family. It is a working farm, established in 1995, offering demonstration, training, and seed and seedling distribution facilities. It also runs a program committed to demonstration of, and training about, sustainable agriculture and community development techniques and approaches. A diversity of foods and resources is grown, including: roots; grain; leaf, fruit and flower crops from trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs; firewood; animal fodder; and mulch. Crops are protected by integrated pest management strategies, encouraged by created microclimates.

Eat Your Weeds: Wild Radish


Wild radish Raphanus raphanistrum is a valuable winter and spring vegetable, in the brassica family. Whether the plant is native to the Mediterranean area or Asia is disputed, but it is now a globalised wild food that is loved by foragers far and wide.

The plant has various common names around the world, including cadlock, jointed charlock, and runch. The botanical name for wild radish derives from Greek, meaning to appear quickly: its germination is rapid, although the plant recedes if the soil remains undisturbed. Being a pioneer species, it likes disturbed soil. Where it springs up may indicate acidity, although it will grow in most soil types. It is a frost-hardy, tenacious plant. In a climate-changed future we may be eating a lot more plants like this.

Wild radish grows in all Australian states – it suits temperate and subalpine climates, and has also been found in subtropical areas; it hasn’t naturalised in the Northern Territory. While it can be a great food source, around four million hectares of it are sprayed each year in Australia with about $40 million worth of herbicide according to the Herbiguide website While it’s usually broadacre cropping farms that spray the plants, always be careful where you forage it – your gut flora doesn’t need any more residual pesticides.

Rare Breeds: Australian Game Fowls


In 1988 Bill Mollison stood on top of a swale at Crystal Waters Eco Village and declared: ‘Permaculturists want to be property developers’. While the job description for a property developer might conjure up images of housing market bubbles, and terribly-designed boxes squeezed onto ever-diminishing parcels of urban land, in many ways Bill was on the money. The desire for a patch of one’s own has led many a permie down the garden path of property ownership. But what if there was a way to create a living out of ethically and sustainably developing land for the future.

Why Become A Property Developer?

The need for more environmentally-sensitive housing is a no-brainer. But is that argument enough to make you put your energy into becoming a property developer? Permaculture teacher and property developer Ian Lillington certainly thinks so. He and his partner Marita went into the business to create sensible, sensitive subdivisions, and to help people move out of big metropolitan areas and set up a good life in a smaller town.

Living Tiny


We were inspired to build a tiny house out of necessity, to have our own space. We’d left the city in search of a more sustainable lifestyle, and for about a year we lived between a tent, the back of our car and in a borrowed caravan: it was time to build something of our own!

We started to investigate what could be possible for us at Agari Permaculture Farm (Victoria) the intentional community we were living at. We spoke to the council and the landowner about what could meet our needs. We wanted to build a home quickly, where: we didn’t need a mortgage, could have privacy, be warm, store our things, cook in and be able to move with our changing circumstances.

Adam was working with Rob Scott, from Hollyburton Park (Macedon Ranges, Vic), building house-trucks at the time, so that seemed like the obvious solution.

Kids’ Patch

Thank you to all the parents that sent in photos of their kids in the garden and with home grown produce. Each month we publish the best photo in our enewsletter and we choose the best to appear here and win a prize.

To enter, send photos with name and age of child and address to The winner will receive the book Rockhopping by Trace Balla and an original drawing by the author.