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Earth Garden Autumn 2021

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.

Earth Garden Pty Ltd
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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min

Dear readers, Welcome to the Autumn issue of Earth Garden. We’re at that time of summer as I write this when none of us know if weather conditions are going to flip to extreme or stay relatively mild. Maybe we’ll get through to the end of March with no loss of life. More than 80 homes have been destroyed in the Perth hills as I write this, and wildfires are still out of control there. But luckily, no one has died — so far. This annual, collective holding of breath — combined with massive commitments and efforts by firies and bush residents — has become, frankly, relentless. It feels like the gap between each fire season gets shorter and shorter. Imagine if we could have a break from that to catch our…

5 min
earth mail

PLUM JAM AND CHUTNEY My wife has been a busy bee, making plum and vanilla jam and spiced plum chutney. Our tree over produced this year however we lost a lot to the birds but still enough to make a lot of treats. Matthew Phyland. I would love the recipes please. Denise Farrugia. Denise: www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/spiced-plum-chutney, she left the currents out. Matthew Phyland. TARA’S BUSH REMEDIES POPULAR Good morning, I love your magazine. My birthday was in January and for the past few years mum and dad just renew my subscription. It’s perfect. My kids have been trying the bush remedies in their cubby hospital for small cuts. Last night my son and I made the bite balm, I did remelt and add more tea tree oil. The smell is lovely. I try to grow as many herbs and…

7 min
on the vine

MULBERRY TREE SAVES HOME FROM BUSHFIRES When Brett Hawkins returned to his remote property in Upper Brogo, north of Bega, after the 2019 New Year’s Eve bushfires, he never expected to find his home and one tree left unscathed among total devastation. Living in dense bushland on the edge of Wadbilliga National Park, on the New South Wales Far South Coast, Mr Hawkins and partner Wendy Wolff evacuated as the Badja Road Fire encroached, and spent the night with hundreds of other evacuees in Bermagui, before returning three days later. “It was apocalyptic,” Mr Hawkins said. “There was not a tree left, ash on the ground and smouldering embers everywhere.” But among the blackened trees, Mr Hawkins found his mudbrick house and mulberry tree in full leaf. “I didn’t quite understand it,”…

7 min
women who farm

WHEN my husband Alex and I bought our certified organic tea tree and flower farm five years ago, my mother declared excitedly: “Oh honey, you’re going to be a farmer’s wife!” I quickly replied, “No way Mum, I’m going to be a farmer!”. As a first-generation farmer now, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is connecting with other farmers, especially women who are choosing a similar path to tread. Farming is a career like no other. It is a lifestyle, often with family, home, land stewardship, activism and income all interwoven into one. For this reason, it can also be the most emotionally challenging and one where community support and connection is vital. Women in farming is nothing new. The farming industry has relied on women for both paid and unpaid…

5 min
bringing nature into the garden

EVERY COUPLE of days our family of spangled drongos work through our orchard. I like them for their shiny selves (and strange name!), but I also like them because they help keep our orchard clear of pests. They especially like our citrus, whipping into the foliage of our oranges, mandarins and grapefruits to snap up the sap-sucking citrus bugs. No other animal I know eats these large bugs – which smell like kerosene mixed with the oil from orange peel. But the drongos love them, snatching them off the stems and throwing them down like cough lollies. Also on most days, the resident variegated fairy-wrens, brown thornbills and rufous shrike-thrushes come through the nearby vegetable beds, flicking through the tangle of mixed vegetables and eating every small leaf-eating insect they see.…

1 min
principles of native permaculture

1. ENHANCE AND RESTORE NATURE. Use local indigenous plants (and animals) where possible to carry out the services that your permaculture garden requires. Use native plants, plants endemic to your district, for browse and grazing for stock, nitrogen and carbon fixing, for timber and firewood production, for mulch production, to encourage and shelter natural predators of garden pests and to provide shade and shelter for garden, humans and stock. 2. DO NO DIRECT HARM TO NATURE. Clear no intact native vegetation and don’t make pollution. Don’t clear native bush to put in a garden. Use land that has already been cleared. Don’t release pollution into the landscape, such as by letting water high in nutrients from your farm flow into waterways. 3. DO NO INDIRECT HARM TO NATURE. Bring in no potentially…