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Earth Garden Winter 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

2 min

Dear readers, Welcome to the winter issue of Earth Garden. Wow what a wild ride 2020 has been so far. Just as we all started to relax a little when flooding rains dampened the bushfire crisis, the vastly more threatening crisis of coronavirus emerged. It feels like we’re living through a Biblical epic: plague, floods and fires, but with no end in sight. Will Charlton Heston come flying round the corner on a Roman chariot? Like all Australians our family has had the dramatic runs of wonder, fear, concern, relief, and quiet contemplation. About the only thing we haven’t experienced is boredom. And I suspect most Earth Gardeners have been just too busy to contemplate boredom. If you’re one of the lucky ones who still has a job, you won’t have time to…

5 min
earth mail

HARD TIMES HANDBOOK Hi Alan and Judith, I hope you are both well. I’m wondering if Keith and Irene’s book Hard Times Handbook is available? I have a copy of the book published in 1986 but think it might be useful in these days of mass unemployment if it was republished even as an ebook. It looks as if this pandemic will go on for some time and many younger people have no idea how to cut costs. I am encouraged when I see the vegetable seedling shelves in Bunnings stripped bare and people trying to buy chickens. I suspect this pandemic will see a major change in societal values. We just have to stop the destruction of our land by coal and gas companies. Best wishes, Trish Cavanagh. Dear Trish, Judith and I agree…

7 min
on the vine

RENEWABLES WILL WIN Renewable electricity will be the only source resilient to the biggest global energy shock in 70 years triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the world’s energy watchdog. The International Energy Agency said the outbreak of Covid-19 would wipe out demand for fossil fuels by prompting a collapse in energy demand seven times greater than the slump caused by the global financial crisis. In a recent report, the IEA said the most severe plunge in energy demand since the World War II would trigger multi-decade lows for the world’s consumption of oil, gas and coal while renewable energy continued to grow. The steady rise of renewable energy combined with the collapse in demand for fossil fuels means clean electricity will play its largest ever role in the global energy…

4 min
nic’s pallet polytunnel

IN MANY PARTS of Australia we need to provide some protection to our plants, whether that’s warmth to extend the growing season in a southern winter, or shade to stop the lettuces bolting to seed in tropical heat. Nic has built a number of polytunnels over the years, and this is the design he’s settled on after long experimentation. It gives (his wife) Tanya’s seedlings a head start in the cold Tasmanian spring and provides a warm space to grow plants that like a little more heat than a Tasmanian summer typically provides. The tunnel began with pallets. Eight standard ones for the length and two longer ones for the width, which makes a tunnel approximately 8m x 3m. The corner pallets and centre pallets have star pickets hammered down inside them…

6 min
take stock and prepare rations

OK LET’S take a look through the pantry, what’s been in there for a while and which resources need rotating first of all. The flour is full of evil weevils! Grandma ilse suggests storing it in the fridge instead of containers. Items close to ‘use by date’ go to ‘piggy plough’ Charlotte, and next I will write an inventory of the rations I estimate to use through winter. I find a packet of organic chia seeds that will grow, black turtle and red kidney beans I can soak overnight and place in soil just below the surface. Pieces of ginger, horseradish and turmeric can also be buried like treasure and I sterilise dozens of glass jars to repurpose. The new garden beds will take time to construct so meanwhile let’s lay down…

3 min
homegrown apple yum

ONE OF the main reasons we started growing food is that we wanted our kids to be completely involved with their food – both in the garden and then on into the kitchen. With the cooler weather, we have thoroughly enjoyed our homegrown apples! Our tree is still young but she does a mighty fine job. They might seem like just a humble apple, but they are inexpensive, readily available, come in so many varieties, are a great source of natural sweetness and fabulous fibre plus they are very versatile – a glorious gem from the garden. My little ones love to munch the apples straight from the tree, but any wind-fallen, damaged or slightly bruised fruit gets collected and turned into stewed apples or apple sauce for use in our baking. No…