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Earth Garden Winter 2017

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.

Country:
Australia
Language:
English
Publisher:
Earth Garden Pty Ltd
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor

Dear readers, Welcome to the winter issue of Earth Garden. It’s really cooled down in our part of the world, and that means a changing of the guard for slugs, bugs and four-legged critters in our garden. The pic below shows what met me one night when I was locking up the chooks. This little green tree frog looked at me as if to say: “Rack off! Get your own egg.” The chook house has been tree frog central this year because a mountain of little wood lice decided they liked the chook straw. So the tree frogs followed them in to help the chooks share the nightly feast. And then the chooks decided to moult. So all the frogs ended up covered in chook feathers. Yes it’s been pretty weird…

6 min.
earth mail

BACK COPIES OF EARTH GARDEN? Hi, I’m just enquiring about how to buy back copies of EG, prior to EG 168. I have sourced about 100 editions so far including EG 1 but some older ones like 77, some of the 80s, 130s, and 160s elude me. I have everything since 168 and now susbscribe for the latest. I see Dromana Books look after later editions like 168 and some of your books, but the others . . hmm. Thanks for any wisdom you can share on this, Andrew McCowan. Hi Andrew, Yes, our friends at dromanabooks.com.auare a great source of our books and recent back copies. But the older back copies are not always easy to find. You could try a classified ad in your local paper or gumtree.com.au, or else many towns…

8 min.
on the vine

WAX WORMS EAT PLASTIC BAGS From plastic bag to anti-freeze . . . one day scientist and amateur beekeeper, Federica Bertocchini, picked parasitic wax worms from the honeycomb of her beehives and left them sitting in a plastic bag. When she returned to the bag, it was riddled with holes and many of the worms had escaped. It was that chance discovery that led her to collaborate with scientists at the University of Cambridge in England to unearth the possibility of using worms to munch through the world’s plastic problem. The team discovered that the wax worm, a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait, has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene — a type of plastic used to make shopping bags — at uniquely high speeds. The degradation rate was extremely fast compared…

5 min.
the bee amigos

THE parallels between surfing and beekeeping run deeper than you might expect. Both pursuits demand patience, an appreciation of natural processes and an acute awareness of the elements. Ask a surfer what the weather’s doing and they can give a detailed synopsis to rival any BoM meteorologist, in much the way a dedicated apiarist could. And then there’s the commitment to the present: when you catch a wave that’s all there is. This complete presence is also evident when I accompany three surfers-cum-apiarists, on their routine hive inspection at Point Lonsdale. Chris Martin, Lockie Kerney and Ed Sloane are all in their early 30s and hail from Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula. And the trio make for unlikely beekeepers. Friends since childhood, their union is one founded on surf and for more than…

5 min.
planting a seed . . .

WHEN CLIVE BLAZEY isn’t gardening, he spends a lot of time on his bicycle. The 72 year old founder of The Diggers Club cycles around his new neighbourhood of Northcote (in Melbourne’s inner north suburbs), admiring local gardens. “I’m blessed that in Northcote there’s a good garden tradition,” Clive says. “In the landscape around me there are lots of citrus and stone fruits; it’s quite an experienced and a passionate garden suburb. We’re blessed with some of the best avenues of street trees that go all the way from Northcote to the National Gallery and Royal Botanic Gardens. I’m in seventh heaven as it’s bicycle paradise around here.” Having moved to the area recently with his wife Penny in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren, Clive said they…

7 min.
should i get batteries ?

IT’S THE question almost everyone with (or considering) a solar system is asking. Should I get batteries? In the past, a lead-acid system was your only option and it was for off-grid battery storage. This involved hooking up a number of lead-acid batteries. They are a messy option but were, prior to Tesla’s Powerwall et al, about the only option. Today we’re in transition. Conventional lead-acid batteries are still available and are still the most common battery installed. Lead acid is mostly used for off-grid and hybrid systems, such as those that require industrial strength inverter technologies like the Australian Made SP Pro from Selectronics. However, the status quo is about to get seriously disrupted. Lithium-Ion batteries have hit the market in a big way and they’re coming down in price.…