Category D.I.Y.

Setting Up A Drip Irrigation System


The impact of long-term drought in Australia means we need to be thinking about better ways to get water to our gardens with the least amount of waste and fuss. With sprayers, sprinklers and hoses, there is inevitably a fair bit of water that goes on paths and surrounding areas, which not only wastes water but also encourages weeds. To get water directly to plants’ roots, drip irrigation is one of the most efficient and focused forms of irrigation.

Drip lines, also known as drippers, dripline and drip tube, have come a long way in the past few years. The most popular and easy to find at major gardening and hardware retailers are extruded, ‘self-cleaning’ inline drip emitters, or ‘drip irrigation tube’. This (generally) 13 mm polypipe has three litres/hour emitters built into the inside of the pipe. Irrigation is an investment in time and money to set up, but you save a lot of water.

Wheelie-Bin Compost Toilet

Composting toilets are natural, self-regulating waste treatment systems. They use no water, no chemicals and produce no polluting discharge. The design of a composting toilet allows for a simple and odourless decomposition, resulting in nutrient-rich compost.

Composting toilets look like any regular toilet and are increasingly replacing the typical flush toilet in homes. By using a composting toilet, homeowners save on water consumption (on average 35,000 litres a year!), return valuable nutrients to their soil, keep waste management on-site, reduce dependency on services and increase self-sufficiency.

How To Build A Cold Frame

heat-loving plans to thrive. The magic behind them is that they help extend the season of your crops, meaning you’re stretching summer at either end. This is always a good thing when your winters are long and drizzly.

Unlike hothouses or glasshouses, cold frames are built close to the ground (usually 0.5 m–1 m high) and are designed to raise seedlings, harden off young plants or grow annual heat-loving vegies that don’t get very tall.

While we were initially thinking of building a large glasshouse, we eventually changed our plans in response to our context. Our steep slope and lack of available flat land has seen us prioritise outdoor growing and play spaces. This all meant a smaller cold frame would be more appropriate. It’s also a heck of a lot easier and cheaper to build. Wins all round!

Build Your Own Meat Safe

Making your own preserved meats such as salami, chorizo and prosciutto has been a tradition among Italian communities for a long time. With a growing interest in good quality homemade food, the tradition is gaining popularity here in Australia too.

An important part of the creation of preserved meats is the drying process. If you are making your own preserved meats you’ll need somewhere secure to hang them while they dry and age. A DIY meat safe is a good option which you can build to suit your specific situation.

Where you position your meat safe is important as the process depends on having a dry, well-ventilated place where your meat can age for several weeks and up to several months (until the meat has lost all its moisture and developed its flavour). Generally meat preserving is done over winter when the weather is dry and cool.

Biogas: Creating Power From Waste


There is a simple way to make your own renewable energy at home and use it for cooking, heating and lighting. It’s called Biogas, and the concept is – add your kitchen scraps or animal manures to a large tank called a ‘digester’ and the anaerobic bacteria that live in the tank will breakdown or ‘digest’ these wastes and convert them to methane gas.

The gas is stored in a bag and can flow straight into your gas cooker in your kitchen, or your outdoor BBQ. The bacteria in the tank need to be fed every day and will not only produce biogas, but also a liquid fertiliser for your garden, and a solid material which is great for growing mushrooms on.

Many people around the world are making their own biogas at home, including millions of people in developing countries. To become part of this off-the-grid power movement you can make your own DIY unit for very little cost, or buy a readymade unit that can be used in any city-suburban backyard.