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Earth Garden Summer 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 summer issue. As I write this in early November, it feels like we can be confident about positive conditions for the first time all year. Summer sunshine is upon us, Covid lockdowns are behind us (fingers crossed), State borders are opening, and Australians seem to have a new-found interest in self-reliance. Even Trump appears gone. One of the few silver linings to this crazy year of Covid unknowns is that more and more people are starting vegie gardens, keeping chooks, reassessing the mad peak hour rush from the cradle to the grave, and rediscovering the joys of spending more — and slower — time with family and friends. When I think back a few months it seems that Melbourne people have had the hardest year, enduring the world’s…

5 min
earth mail

A NEW PATCH IN QUEENSLAND Hi team at EG, Well I have taken a big plunge into another chapter of my life. I’ve found a smaller property in a village on the Fraser coast of Queensland. Hopefully I won’t have to chop wood any more. I am just realising how emotionally attached I was to my previous piece of Oz. Now I am relishing the excitement of discovery of my new patch. People in the village and surrounds have been most welcoming, even though I am from another State, and also Covid awareness being prevalent. Even though my vegie patch and gardens will have to be started again, I just can’t wait. Lotsa love to all out there, stay safe and talk to your patch. Cheers. Denise Johnson, Howard Queensland. Hi Denise, ‘Talk to…

6 min
on the vine

FROM KITCHEN SCRAPS TO FABRIC DYE Tess Bryant is a bit of a collector. Her kitchen is filled with jars of onion skins, there are avocado seeds drying in mesh bags and pomegranates sitting on shelves. “Every time we go to a party, if there is leftover food I’m like,‘Ooh, I’ll take that, I’ll use that’,” she said. “All my friends and neighbours think I’m that kooky person, but it pays off.” Ms Bryant uses the scraps and food waste from her kitchen to dye pieces of upcycled fabric and a selection of her work has been turned into an art exhibition earlier this year in Albany, WA, called ‘Afterlife’. “I’m trying to draw upon the afterlife of things . . . what happens when we dispose of them, what happens after people…

5 min
into the wild . . . with tea tree

SUMMER is upon us! It’s the time for sleeping under the stars, sunset swims and kicking back in the hammock. It’s also the time of everything bitey, scratchy and stingy coming out to play. If you’re anything like our family, we love to head off camping and get out into the wild. I’m always looking for economical ways to reduce waste and use natural products both at home and on the road. This is even more important when visiting pristine areas so we can leave them exactly as we find them. Because we run a small certified organic tea tree farm, I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of opportunities to discover ways to use this versatile native essential oil. I use it for pretty much everything! A LITTLE BACKGROUND Tea tree (also known…

6 min
the ‘fire-hardy’ home

FIRST, assume you’ll be on your own – no fire trucks. Then understand your particular situation and know what you could be dealing with. Statistics show that far more homes survive when defended. But every place is different: the climate, soils, type of surrounding vegetation (grasslands or bush), proximity to sheds or neighbours, uphill or down, north or south facing slopes, your water source, natural heat and ember shields and so on. Then add into the mix how physically and psychologically robust people might be. You can do an awful lot to make your home what’s called ‘fire-hardy’. Don’t take a gamble – your home should have the best possible chance to survive a fire, whether you stay or go Unless you live in grasslands, the greatest threat to homes is ember attack…

5 min
garden first aid

SUMMER is garden time, endless days of sunshine tinkering with your beloved organic gardening empire and getting around to that long list of DIY projects that you’ve been bookmarking in Earth Garden issues all year. But oopsies happen, and whether you’ve bashed your thumb with a hammer, been stung by a critter or accidentally tried to dead head your own own finger instead of the roses, it’s good to know that there is probably a plant right there in the garden that can help. YARROW* – Achillea millefolium Yarrow is a lovely addition to the flower garden, or scattered between the vegies. It has delicate, lacy foliage and flowers of white or pink that are much beloved by bees. It is also the first herb to turn to if you are bleeding.…