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Earth Garden Autumn 2020

EARTH GARDEN is Australia’s original journal of sustainable living for householders seeking a more eco-conscious lifestyle. For more than 40 years the supportive network of Earth Gardeners has been guiding and reflecting the movement away from high- consumption lifestyles.

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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min

Dear readers, Welcome to the Autumn issue of Earth Garden. A heartfelt message to all Earth Gardeners and their families and friends who’ve been battling through this unprecedented fire season and drought: our thoughts are with you. I’m writing this on 31 December. Today feels like crescendo day after months of burning, destruction, heartache, death of animals and humans, and now thousands of people in the path of the most destructive bushfires we’ve seen. More than five million hectares have burned and we seem helpless in the face of this carnage. Thousands of people are sheltering on beaches in southern NSW today, waiting and hoping for the fire fronts to pass — even as they hear the sound of exploding gas bottles in the distance, knowing this signifies another home burned down. Many of Earth…

4 min
earth mail

REMEMBERING TO SMILE Hello, my name is Aggie Thwaites and my noggin has a few problems, and with such severe mental illness, one needs inspiration. I spend a lot of time in hospitals, and seeing how happy everyone in Earth Garden is, makes me want to be that exuberant one day; that is why this note glued to an Earth Garden magazine sits on my desk and I flick through it, encouraging me to look forward to a good life full of smiles. Thank you, Aggie. SPRING ONIONS?! Cut ‘n come again spring onions are definitely still sproinging! Two years on, and growing strong. Thanks to whomever it was on Earth Gardeners who gave the tip to cut ‘n come again. Fiona Gibberd, Hopetoun,WA. They look like leeks. Kate Green. What did you actually plant in the ground? Barbara…

8 min
on the vine

SNIFFING OUT SURVIVING KOALAS Special detection dogs have found seven koalas alive amid burnt out forest at Maryvale on Queensland’s Southern Downs, and evidence of even more survivors. The search, which is ongoing, is being funded thanks to generous donations to the World Wide Fund for Nature from locals and people around the world plus corporate sponsors. This area of forest was the scene of high drama in November 2019 when a fire front caused the evacuation of the five-star Spicers Peak Lodge. But it was a much more uplifting scene when English Springer spaniels Taz (brown) and Missy (black), who are trained to sniff out koala scats, discovered surviving koalas. Olivia Woosnam is a koala conservation ecologist and consultant at OWAD Environment which conducts koala surveys with their professional field detection dogs…

5 min
home is where the heart is

THERE’S nothing quite like a natural disaster to force you to take stock of things and reflect on what’s truly important. When we packed up our cars to evacuate our bushland home last year due to local bushfires, we focused on two things. Our family collection of musical instruments and our tools. Building tools to be precise, should we be forced to return and (gulp) start over. Like others who have followed the urge towards a more sustainable lifestyle on the land, our home has become so much more to us than we could have ever imagined. Driving away and looking out of the rear-view mirror, I felt a surreal tightening in the pit of my stomach. When you are homesteading, you are building a life, not just a physical house,…

4 min
garbage to garden part two

DISCARDED junk can be like rescue chooks – once rehomed in the right place, they can be the most valuable friend and assistant. Here are some more ideas for repurposing rubbish to become invaluable items for our gardens. POLYPIPE – ALL DIAMETERS Cut small rounds of 1-2cm wide and slit down the side to use as clips or ‘pegs’ for holding covers on buckets or for holding plant stems to stakes or wires. Cut the soft half-inch (13 mm) poly into spirals and use them to wind around tomato stems and onto a mesh frame or similar as clips (see photo above). Then there’s the classic polypipe arch structure. Bend lengths over into a big arch and securing over a metal or wooden stake. They make great ribs for a hot house, shade…

3 min
our secret garden

A FEW YEARS ago I was reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to my sons. Early in the book, Mary Lennox turns to Mr Craven: “Might I,” quavered Mary,“might I have a bit of earth?” In her eagerness, she did not realise how queer the words would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr Craven looked quite startled. “Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?” “To plant seeds in – to make things grow – to see them come alive,” Mary faltered. At this point, both my boys turned to me and pleaded:“Can we? Can we have our own bit of garden to plant what we want?” I couldn’t grant that wish at the time. . . not the way they wanted. I…