About Bellingen Seedsavers

We are a group of like-minded growers of edible and useful heritage plant varieties in the Bellingen area of northeast New South Wales, Australia.

Our climate varies from frost-free coastal areas to inland river valleys and highlands with frosts. Bellingen has an average annual rainfall of 1507ml.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Download. Buy. The 3-book series "Lost Crops of Africa"

The 3-book series "Lost Crops of Africa" (Volumes I, II and III on Grains, Vegetables, and Fruits, published in 1996, 2006 and 2008, respectively) is a treasure for us all, but especially for the African continent, with the hope it presents of growing food security for its 1 billion people!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Temporary Plant Fair Co-ordinator needed



Stall at the Autumn Plant Fair
 
Temporary Plant Fair Co-ordinator needed
 
 
Just one plant fair - the upcoming Spring Plant Fair in September
 
Gillian (our usual coordinator) will be overseas at the time
Tips and checklists and all info will be provided
Preparations begin late July

What's involved? 
 
Book the stall space, create a roster for volunteers, coordinate call outs & roster distribution with Fiona (newsletter), check through market stall gear.

Can you do it? Email news@bellingenseedsavers.com

Winter Solstice Visit to David's garden



Edible flowers (rose and basil) on edible goodies

Citrus time in the Bellingen Valley







David in his garden.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Michelle's Valla garden


What a treat!
This very young back yard garden is clearly in expert hands and already highly productive, neat and beautiful. We marvelled at the outlook (the sea is just in view), and the astonishing amount of work and careful hand weeding that has obviously happened in a short amount of time.

We enjoyed a typically abundant seed savers shared lunch out on the balcony admiring Michelle's garden and getting inspired.

Thanks for hosting us for lunch Michelle, your garden astonished us all, in the best possible way.

Nambucca Valley Aquaponics

Open every Sunday for you to come and select your freshly harvested spray free veg straight from the farm. 9am - 12 noon.
802 Williams Rd Nambucca.
-Support your local growers-

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Our tour of Nambucca Valley Aquaponics was well attended and with a number of new faces (hello!!).

The farm is run by the always-look-on-the-bright-side father and son duo of Keith and Luke Tutt. Never fear being a beginner. YouTube is your best friend. They have learned everything by trial and error and looking things up online. It was refreshing to see a real farm put together with an eye on real function, not pretty matching fences.

A couple of the main findings along their way: aquaponics (with fish) had far more robust results compared to hydroponics (just water and fertilizers); and to solve their trouble with biting midges eating the seedlings in the greenhouses, predatory mites from www.bioworksonline.com.au have been the answer.

The farm produce is spray free, and would be certified organic except for an admin quirk - a gap in the certification rules. There is no category for aquaponics. So although everything is grown to organic standards, there is no certification to be had.

Wow does this farm produce! Look at all that food!!!


Thanks to Jeff for all our photos.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Deb's new sustainable garden at Brierfield

Seen from below, Deb's new house is located in a bush fire 'flame' categorised area and thus requires  flame shutters and concrete decks. Her vegetable garden is located on top of the hill. Natives are planted below the house.




Deb (in the pink hat) and her partner have invested in terrace walls below the house.



A constructed pond serves for Deb's treasured fish and also as a mandatory emergency fire fighting resource.




Stock water troughs have been adapted with planted Lomandra grass to filter sewerage overflow.



The vegetable beds are located at the top of the hill.




An Acerola cherry has fruited well under its netting.



Comfrey flourishes with edible marigold flowers in the foreground.






A Zucchini is still producing.

 

A yellow Eggplant loves its sunny position.

 


Friday, 27 April 2018

Bunya Nut Cake





Growing locally Bunya Nuts can be boiled and utilised as a nut meal. This recipe blends the nuts with milk to make a paste.


Monday, 16 April 2018

Changes by Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service threaten Australian food security.




Action required before Thursday April 19.

 

Changes by AQIS threaten Australian food security. 

 

Yes, this is serious:

 

What you can do about this

 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Public Libraries Are Giving Out Seeds In The Name Of Sustainability


“ 'It’s great if we have all this sustainability, but unless we have access to seeds, all the other aspects of sustainable agriculture really don’t mean anything,” Newburn told Atlas Obscura.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Bellingen Seed Savers at the 2018 Autumn Plant Fair in Bellingen

Gillian coordinated an excellent stall at the Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair. Members turned up in droves to help our customers choose appropriate seeds and plants and to offer gardening advice. Many of our customers are new to our climatic conditions and welcome tips for gardening in a subtropical/warm temperate climate.

David and Michelle with Sweet Leaf cuttings,.


Seeds packed by our Seed savers, potted plants and cuttings were on sale for a tiny price because our main aim is to spread the cultivation of useful plants within our local area, not to make a profit.

Cuttings and plants of Surinam Spinach, Okinawa Spinach and Longevity Spinach were available.

Longevity Spinach is new to our area and is proving a popular choice as a leafy green vegetable... and of course it is claimed to promote health and longevity.


Our raffle of local produce is always popular.

Locally grown seeds of edible plants

We are happy when gardeners succeed in raising plants from our locally collected seeds and cuttings. We are very satisfied when families can raise their own food. We recognise that healthy, fresh food is often too expensive for many, despite the claims of the larger chain stores.

We aim to educate folk of the the benefits these subtropical and tropical vegetables have for our local gardeners

We had a huge array of locally sourced seeds.


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Green Banana Rissoles-Cakes


Oven baked green banana savoury cake
• Boil and mash sufficient green bananas (or plantains) to replace the meat in a traditional rissole recipe.

• Blend with plain flour (wholemeal, half wholemeal is preferred), an egg if you like, crushed nuts, finely chopped vegetables, seasonings (cumin works well) and herbs of your choice until you have a mix that can be shaped into small rissoles.

• Fry in a frypan using coconut or olive oil or bake in the oven to avoid oils. These little savoury cakes go well to nibble with pumpkin soup or serve with a savoury sauce.

Carambola (Star Fruit) Upside Down Cake

Carambola (Star Fruit) Fruit

This is a paraphrased variation of the Mango Upside Down Cake from Linda Woodrow's amazingly useful and relevant Witches Kitchen blog which made use of a Mango seasonal glut. In the Bellinger Valley we are now entering a carambola (star fruit) glut. We find the carambola perfectly replaces the mangoes texture and taste.

The Recipe:

Turn your oven on to heat up to medium (180°C or 350°F).

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Autumn Plant Fair - Saturday 10 March 2018 - How are you helping? Seed Packaging

Bellingen Seed Savers stall at Bellingen Plant Fair

An URGENT Request For Stall Volunteers

So far we have a total of 3 keen volunteers - Leela, Nick & myself - but that won't be enough...

Early morning is our busiest period!  To hold the BSS stall we need:
4 people for 6:30am to 8:30 set up.
5 people for 8.00 to 10.00;
4 people for 10.00-12.00pm;
3 people for 12.00-2.00pm.

Please advise name, phone number, preferred time slot.
Shifts are usually 2 hours and there is always at least a couple of people rostered on at once.
Many Thanks,
Gillian


Plant Fair - Raffle Goodies

Donations of fruit, vegies, herbs, preserves and baked goods will be very gratefully received. Please bring donations along on the day to pop into the 2 raffle boxes, or drop them off before Saturday at 19 Henry Boultwood Drive Fernmount 2454 (drop near carport out of driving path).


Plant Fair - Plant Material

Cuttings, seedlings and tubers. Any donations of local edible plant material for sale on the stall would be awesome. We have locquat tree seedlings. What do you have to share from your garden?

Please bring donations along on the day to the stall, or drop them off before Saturday at 19 Henry Boultwood Drive Fernmount 2454 (drop near carport out of driving path).

Diary Dates

Seed Labelling for the Autumn Plant Fair

Tuesday September 6, from 2pm
Remember to seek out the sign-in sheet on arrival.
No shared plate required this time. It's a quick get-this-done session.

The seeds have been prepared and packed into bags, now they need to be put into packets and labelled. Jeff has been super-busy preparing labels for us. All we need to do is turn up spend an hour or so putting bagged seeds into packets and sticking labels on.

Bellingen Seed Savers presents seeds and plants at a stall at the Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair very soon - March 10!
 
Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Jeff Alcott seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

Cleaning Brassica seed

Packaging seed at Nell's

Packaging and cleaning seed


Sharing growing ideas while we pack seeds.
 

BSS at the Autumn Plant Fair

Saturday 10 March 2018
6.30am - 3pm (public 8am-2pm)

We are booked in again with a stall. This is our main event for distributing our locally adapted seeds and plants. It is entirely volunteer run.

We need you! Please advise name, phone number and preferred time slot. Stall shifts are usually 2 hours and there is always at least a couple of people rostered on at once.

"Come along to this years Autumn Plant Fair in the beautiful Market Park Bellingen to get your garden started. Autumn is a great time to plant your winter vegetables and set your natives and ornamentals while the soil is moist.

There will be the usual food stalls, huge plant raffle, workshops and music.
"

Can you volunteer on the day? Please let Gillian know.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Seedsavers Forum at the Bellingen Youth Hub


Sharing ideas and lunch at a previous gathering.

Thursday February 8.
1 - 3.00pm
Youth Hub Bellingen, corner Church and Williams Sts

Remember to seek out the sign-in sheet on arrival.
Please bring a plate to contribute to our shared lunch at the start.
Bring seeds and excess plants to share if you have any.
Bring a gold coin to help pay for venue.

In airconditioned comfort:

Open Q & A forum for gardening questions.

Jeff will give us a run through of the basics of seed saving. Packing is later in Feb.

  Coming? RSVP online to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Leucaena leucocephala might be a food we should be growing locally.

This article will be of interest to food growers in our shire.

 

Caution: This blog does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the published information. Sources regarding edibility often disagree as in the case below.

 

'“Guaje – Garlic Pumpkin Seeds that are Free Food”

Guaje pronounced Gwah-hee and also known as Leucaena leucocephala is a tree in the acacia family that grows all over the world. It might even be growing in your area, they grow in California, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, South America, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Israel, Philippines, Asia, Thailand, Laos, Burma, India, and Africa. So guaje can be found all over the world and have many health benefits. And guaje seeds are free food!

Guaje Seed Pods


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Monday, 22 January 2018

Monday, 15 January 2018

Recipe: Green Vegetable Bake.

The half demolished Bake
I am always looking for recipes that utilise our abundant garden greens. The accompanying picture looks unappetising but the leftovers were refridgerated


 1. Collect your greens and any other vegetables. I prefer to use tomatoes in a salad rather than a bake but I use any of the following in a mix of greens :

• Small chokoes  • pumpkin leaves, • Katuk • Okinawa Spinach, • Ceylon Spinach, spinach • silver beet or beet leaves • Surinam Spinach • Brazil Spinach  •sweet potato leaves  • some chili or capsicum leaves • capsicum • various herbs • spring onions • Moringa leaves and flowers • cooked Chaya Spinach Tree leaves • cooked Warrigal Greens •mustard • rocket • zucchini 

2. Rinse well if required.

3. Fry some garlic and onion in oil (I prefer olive oil but coconut oil also works) .

4. In a 'kitchen whizz' chop a layer of hard vegetables such as pumpkin and carrot with the cooked onion and garlic. Add an egg or two and some cream or a little milk or yoghurt. Season. Also add some tasty cheese or feta cheese.

5. Layer the chopped vegetables in an oiled or buttered oven proof dish.

6.  'Whizz"/chop the green vegetables along with some seasoning,  eggs and a little milk or cream and add as another layer to the ovenproof dish. Keep the amounts of liquids small because the greens generate plenty of liquid. If you like you can just mix everything into one layer.

7. Bake for close to an hour in a moderate oven until dry on top.

8. Optional: Top with cheese (feta, tasty or parmesan) and bake for another 5 minutes.

9. Serve warm or cold with a salad.

See also:

Eat your Pumpkin leaves and links to vegetable recipes using indigenous plants

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