About Bellingen Seedsavers

We are a group of like-minded growers of 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.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair

Once again a Bellingen Environment Centre Plant Fair was successful and our locally grown and packed heritage seeds were in demand. We prefer to distribute our seeds via markets rather than store seeds.

Packing the seeds the weeks before the Fair

You can see what we grow in our local area.

We sell cheaply because we aim to spread our seeds and encourage everyone to grow more of their own food.

Our guessing competition raises funds and displays our local produce.
Our Mayor buying seeds.

We give advice on how to grow our seeds.

If you contact us we will put you on our mail list. You will be notified of our meetings and garden visits.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Ragweed, Gynura crepidioides. Is it a local edible weed?

Ragweed, Gynura crepidioides
 Some articles conflate Okinawa Spinach (Gynura bicolour)) with Ragweed, Gynura crepidioides. Sometimes both plants are depicted, cut and bundled, in Asian vegetable markets.

Okinawa Spinach (Gynura bicolour)

Gynura crepidiodes, a common weed in the Bellingen valley

"Gynura crepidioides Benth. is a synonym of Crassocephalum crepidioides"

"Crassocephalum crepidioides, also called ebolo, thickhead, redflower ragleaf, or fireweed, is an erect annual slightly succulent herb growing up to 180 cm tall. Its use is widespread in many tropical and subtropical regions, but is especially prominent in tropical Africa. Its fleshy, mucilaginous leaves and stems are eaten as a vegetable, and many parts of the plant have medical uses. However, the safety of internal use needs further research due to the presence of plant toxins. [2]" Ref: Wikipedia

"Cultivation Details

Grows well in soils that are rich in organic matter. Often cultivated as a food crop in the tropics, the plant has light, plumed seeds that are easily distributed by the wind. It has escaped from cultivation in many areas and become an invasive weed in some places.

Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked. A distinctive, pine-like flavour. The leaves are fleshy, somewhat mucilaginous with a nutty flavour]. The tender and succulent leaves and stems of ebolo are mucilaginous and are used as a vegetable in soups and stews, especially in West and Central Africa. It is much appreciated for its special flavour, which is sharp but not bitter. In Sierra Leone the leaves are also popular and are made into a sauce with groundnut paste. In Australia it is eaten as a salad green, either cooked or raw"  Ref: Useful Tropical Plants

Also Search for Gynura crepidioides in Google Book 'Vegetables' for an excellent article.

See that also: Birds Nest Fern 

Spider plant (Cleome gynandra)

Blackjack (Bidens pilosa), 

are grown as edible crops in Africa and Asia!!!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

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

Using Herbs in Everyday Life Workshop

Biodynamic Agriculture Australia is hosting a 'Using Herbs in Everyday Life' Workshop on Thursday 30th March  at 25 Nobles Lane, East Bellingen.

It is also hosting a visit by CEO of SEKEM Community in Egypt (A Biodynamic Sustainable Community of 3000 people in the desert) -Helmy Abouleish on Thursday 21st April (workshops and forum), and Thursday evening (public talk and Q and A session. See www.sekem.com

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Labelling the Seeds Working Bee March 7

Always a great opportunity to share news.

Ready for the Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair March 11, 2017

Monday, 16 January 2017

Saturday January 14th soiree with John & Carol in the leafy Fernmount Food Forest

Seedsavers on the upper path in the Fernmount Food Forest
A heavy but short southerly change and shower dropped the temperature from the 40 plus temperatures we had been sheltering from most of the day and made the garden walk much more pleasant.

The Cherimoya and Rollinia (flowering) were of interest as were the flowering and fruiting Carambolas.

We gathered for a quick stroll through the food forest then enjoyed a presentation on edible perennials - some surprises there. A Longevity Spinach (Gynura procumbens) cousin of the Okinawan spinach flourishes in the Bellingen climate.

Then we shared a supper till late. Elaine's herbal punch (lemon myrtle and lemon verbena tea base) was popular.

Noticed on the sharing table: tamarillos, Giant Russian garlic, eggplant seedlings, seeds of mustard, celery, bunching shallot and cuttings of Okinawa and Surinam spinach.


Tamarillo cake (substituting tamarillos for plums in a recipe)

Perennial hot capsicum
Okinawa spinach
Curry Leaf bush
Unripe mangoes, yummy with sugar, salt and maybe a touch of chili.
Gramma Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) does well in this humid climate
Our first soursop fruit. Apparently the leaves are also steeped to make a herbal tea.
New Guinea Bean Gourd thrives in the wet weather.
Carambola. Some say the leaves are edible as well.
Phyllanthus distichus  Star Gooseberry

Golden Lyre Grevillia

Black Grumichama

Beneath the Mexican Weeping Bamboo arch

Presentation on Edible Perennials

A shared dinner
Rae's coconut cake

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Video: Cooking Green Jackfruit

A recipe from New Earth Cooking that uses green jackfruit, green papaya, garlic, ginger, shallots and other tropical produce.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

One reason why we use 'heritage' seeds.

How “Open Source” Seed Producers From the U.S. to India Are Changing Global Food Production


“It’s just a rock in the river and I’m floating around it. That’s basically what we have to do, but it breaks the breeding tradition,” he says. “I think these lettuce patents are overreaching and if they [were to hold up in court], nobody can breed a new lettuce anymore because all the traits have been claimed.”  


The original version of this article, by Rachel Cernansky, appeared on Ensia. 



See also:

UN experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Carole's subtropical/warm temperate garden at Gleniffer

Carole and Phil live in a beautiful part of Gleniffer with spectacular views of the Dorrigo rainforest.

Their north facing solar passive house with the expansive edible gardens out front is a great example of a self-sustaining household for two. Their intention is to not have to bring anything in for their garden/home and to not take any waste out, and they have almost achieved this. 

The edible gardens are inspiring, we all walked away with many ideas.

Here are some highlights.

The pineapples are planted from the tops of pineapples they've eaten and are in a hot sunny spot close to the house. This creates a beautiful bank of structural plants with grey greens and reds and a seasonal abundance of fruit, though there is some fighting with the local bush rats to who gets the ripe pineapples first…

Kale, possibly 'Cavallo Nero' kale, in the netted vegetable garden

In a carefully netted section of the garden the blueberries were abundant. The different varieties grown spread the times at which they ripen, a strategy applied to other fruits as well. 
There were peanuts aplenty at Carole and Phil's.
We saw lot's of tips and practical ideas as well such as the way small birds, that take care of bugs, are allowed into the netted areas with vegetables (but not the berry plot) while big birds were kept out. 

Thanks Carole and Phil. It was inspiring!

Text mostly by Erik.

Here are some more pics.


Netted vegetable garden

Salad vegetables often need shade under our intense subtropical summer sun.
Warrigal Greens and Row Beans

Netted garden

Garlic drying on the verandah

Our afternoon teas are always a highlight and often showcase the edibles we grow.


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