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.

Monday, 10 September 2018


From: plantyhamchuk


“The study found the Sierra Mixe corn obtains 28 to 82 percent of its nitrogen from the atmosphere. To do this, the corn grows a series of aerial roots. Unlike conventional corn, which has one or two groups of aerial roots near its base, the nitrogen-fixing corn develops eight to ten thick aerial roots that never touch the ground.

During certain times of the year, these roots secrete a gel-like substance, or mucilage. The mucilage provides the low-oxygen and sugar-rich environment required to attract bacteria that can transform nitrogen from the air into a form the corn can use.

“Our research has demonstrated that the mucilage found in this Sierra Mixe corn forms a key component of its nitrogen fixation,“ said co-author Jean-Michel AnĂ©, professor of agronomy and bacteriology in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW–Madison. “We have shown this through growth of the plant both in Mexico and Wisconsin.”

“ Researchers are a long way from developing a similar nitrogen-fixing trait for commercial corn, but this is a first step to guide further research on that application. The discovery could lead to a reduction of fertilizer use for corn, one of the world’s major cereal crops. It takes 1 to 2 percent of the total global energy supply to produce fertilizer. The energy-intensive process is also responsible for 1 to 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. “

Why are we stripping our life support systems?

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Seed Packing ready for the Autumn Plant Fair, September 8

Click to enlarge: Our seeds available at the Autumn Plant Fair

Over twenty members turned up to pack seeds and share plants at our seed packing working bee.

We will be labelling the seed packets in a weeks time. Volunteers are required to staff our plant stall on September 8.

 As usual we shared a meal at the end of seed-packing although some members had to be persuaded to stop packing.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Making jam without sugar: using excess fruit

This is a variety of useful recipes plucked from the net for making a jam or spread. There are source credits after the recipes for links to the original sites. There is no need to do without jam just because you are avoiding high energy sweeteners like sugar, honey and various syrups. Please take notice of the recommendations regarding the use by periods.

I boil down our home grown cumquats with only a very small amount of sugar and a little water to make a delicious sauce or runny jam, perhaps I will now try cooking down citrus without any sugar or use stevia to sweeten. Happy experimentation.

Click pictures to enlarge.

Australian Climate Zones

Climate Zones

"Australia has a wide range of climates from the wet tropics to cool temperate climates and it is important to consider your climate when selecting trees that will be best suited to your area so they will thrive and be productive once planted. This map from the Organic Gardener Magazine is an excellent example of a climate map that will help you to understand what type of climate you live in. 

Friday, 27 July 2018

July Garden Visit to Tim’s new Food Forest in Fernmount

More than meets the eye in this new Fernmount garden:

Tim and his growing family have been living in what was a vacant block for just over a year now, some of you may be familiar with it as the former 'Secret Garden' nursery. Lots of planning, passion and effort has netted him a food forest, jumping out of the ground out and proud, in the front yard. An unorthodox style, but then a little chaos always brings opportunity.

Around the back there is more experimentation and innovation with livestock and microclimates; endless fun and education for his kids.

Inspirational! Tim has a lot of plans and ideas and thankfully for him and his family, also the energy of a kelpie to make them happen. In just under a year he has moved a house onto an empty plot, moved the family in, cleared a creekbed, set up chickens, sheep and a pig run, and planted out the entire front area as a baby food forest that's easy to mow around.

What grows well, grows well and what's too fussy is left behind. Tim had a bunch of ways of propagating that don't waste time. The easiest way to plant a tomato is to get a ripe one and squish it into the ground where you'd like more to grow.

We saw a broadfork in action - it's a giant garden fork that's more effective and more efficient for aerating or turning over new ground.

We were introduced to a bunch of fertiliser ideas. Throw the manure in with the chickens to scratch up, eat the seeds and break down. Give the scraps to the pig.

Home grown popping corn and a table groaning with cakes were very much enjoyed too.

Thanks to Jeff for all our photos.
Using a Broadfork
Liquid Gold
Seedsavers see Tim's new banana plantings
Using the popping corn harvest

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-


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.


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