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.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Some Edible Perennials - Tree Spinach, Moringa, Sweet Leaf & more

Tree Spinach
Some very useful links from Survival Gardener




http://survivalgardener.com/sissoo-spinach/ http://survivalgardener.com/


Sweet Leaf (Katuk)


  and Pigeon Peas


"When they’re dry, you boil them longer,” says the West Indian native who goes by the name Mackadoo at Vermont Square Community Garden in Los Angeles. “My mother cooked chicken and rice and peas all the time.”

When green, the entire pod can be eaten, master gardener Tamiko Nakamoto says.

“In the Caribbean they also eat the young shoots just coming up,” says Nakamoto, also a member of the Vermont Square garden." Los Angeles Times

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Permaculture Australia Gathering May 13-14 at Djanbung Gardens

Sat May 13:   10am-4pm  Pc Fair & Open Day (entry by donation)

6.30pm Fundraising Dinner with Rosemary Morrow starts 6.30pm (booking essential)
Sun May 14: Visioning Permaculture Australia, AGM and other business for members (catered, booking essential)

Join us at Djanbung Gardens for an inspiring day of workshops, presentations and displays at the public open day and Permaculture Fair on Saturday 13th May, 10am-4pm. Connect with people committed to making the world a better place. Learn something new, share your ideas and experience with others and explore the gardens. Books, resources and plants for sale. Abundance Cafe will be open with delicious snacks, lunches and local coffee.  NB this will replace the Annual Djanbung Gardens Open Day normally held in June.

On Saturday evening, treat yourself to the ultimate Locavore Feast fundraising dinner on Saturday evening from 6.30pm catered by Abundance Café, specialising in garden fresh and local foods of the Nimbin bioregion and Northern Rivers prepared by our permaculture artisan chef, Melian Fertl. There will be live entertainment and Rosemary Morrow, who has recently returned from working with Kurdish refugees in the Middle East, will be guest speaker. Costa Georgiadis will also join us on screen to share some pearls of wisdom in his affable exuberant style.

This event is celebrating 30 years since the incorporation of Permaculture International Ltd in 1987, which now operates as Permaculture Australia (PA). PA is the national voice connecting permaculture practitioners around Australia. It pioneered the accrediting of vocational qualifications and training in permaculture, which in 2016 was included in the National Training Package with Horticulture, Agriculture and Conservation and Land Management. PA also operates the only dedicated permaculture tax deductible gift fund ‘Permafund’ which provides small grants to permaculture projects throughout Australia and internationally in areas of need.

This event is being hosted by Permaculture College Australia Inc at Djanbung Gardens, Nimbin, as a fundraising event for Permaculture Australia. Djanbung Gardens hosted the Australasian Permaculture Convergence APC-7 in 1997. Since then the gardens have matured to become an internationally significant example of permaculture practice, education and training. The gardens founder, Robyn Francis, was also founding director of Permaculture International Ltd and Permaculture Australia.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Spinach/Silverbeet Pie Recipe: Georgie's version of a Stephanie Alexander recipe

Okinawa Spinach
Note: This is a great way to use edible weeds and most greens.

Ingredients to make a pie the size of large pizza tray.


2 cups plain flour (wholemeal if you like)
pinch of salt
1meagre cup of water
4 tbsp olive oil

Method:  Sift flour and salt into large bowl. Add water slowly and oil and mix with hands.  Make a good dough mixture that you can knead.  So all water may not be used as that depends on flour.  Knead it in the bowl or tip onto surface and knead for 10 minutes.  Put in bowl, cover (I put my bowl into plastic bag) and put in frig whilst you do the mixture.  

Monday, 10 April 2017

Recipe: Hummingbird Cake

 Hummingbird Cake


This moist, luscious cake from the American Deep South translates as delicious
in anyone's language. You need approximately 2 large over-ripe (460g) bananas
for this recipe.

450g can crushed pineapple in syrup
1 cup (150g) plain flour
½ cup (75g) self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup (200g) firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup (45g) desiccated coconut
1 cup mashed banana
2 eggs, beaten lightly
¾ cup (180ml) vegetable oil

30g butter, softened
60g cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1½ cups (240g) icing sugar mixture

1 Position oven shelves; preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease deep 23cm square cake pan, line base with baking paper.

2 Drain pineapple over medium bowl, pressing with spoon to extract as
much syrup as possible. Reserve 1/4 cup (60ml) syrup.

3 Sift flours, soda, spices and sugar into large bowl. Using wooden
spoon, stir in drained pineapple, reserved syrup, coconut, banana,
egg and oil; pour into prepared pan.

4 Bake cake in moderate oven about 40 minutes. Stand cake 5 minutes
then turn onto wire rack; turn cake top-side up to cool.

5 cream cheese frosting

Beat butter, cream cheese and essence in small bowl with electric mixer
until light and fluffy; gradually beat in icing sugar.

6 Spread cold cake with cream cheese frosting.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Autumn visit to Narelle's country garden in Valery, NSW

 Narelle has established an extensive vegetable garden in Valery. She heavily mulches the poor soil with grass, compost and cow manure. She obviously has a green vegetable thumb, probably because of a lifetime of growing food.

Narelle waits until the ants seek the sugar from the ripe pineapple.

Gramma pumpkin

Members check out the vegetable garden with Amaranth in foreground.

View from the garden

 TIP: http://yougrowgirl.com/my-best-tip-for-storing-fresh-flowers/

Yellow Zucchini

Edible Rosella flower, calyx and leaf

Dahlia flowers near amaranth flowers

One stunning northern view from the garden taken on this wet day.

The New Guinea Passionfruit vine produces delicious fruit. Compost bin in background.

A favourite small black pumpkin

Rosella produces edible flowers, fruit and leaves.

Narelle's presents talk on her past vegetable garden.

We always enjoy a meal together. We try to use the foods we grow. 

Leela's pumpkin pie with reduced sugar.

Recipe: Hummingbird Cake

Ricks fried plantain

Omshree's Chickpea Salad Click for recipe

RECIPE LINK: Nasturtium Leaf Pesto

Well worth the visit to this site. It has interesting and useful ideas for using the plants you grow.

Omshree's Chickpea Salad

1 cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight
rinse thoroughly

Pressure cook chickpeas with a dollop of olive oil, no salt (half hour on high pressure is good)
rinse thoroughly

Add as much as you like quartered sweet cherry tomatoes      
1 large red onion diced                                         
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 dessertspoon tamari (soy sauce)

Recipe is subject to preference. For example can use sea-salt instead of tamari; add grated ginger;  add lime zest; vary quantities of garlic, onion, cherry tomatoes; whole cherry tomatoes instead of quartered; add parsley, chives, or shallots; and so on


Credit: Woolworths Fresh Magazine

Prep 20 mins I Cook 1 hr I Makes 1 Loaf

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon zest
2 large carrots, peeled, grated
2 medium apples, peeled, grated
1 1/2 cups diced prunes
1/2 cup walnut pieces

1 Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly grease and flour a 4-cup Loaf pan, shaking out any excess flour.

2 In a bowl, whisk together the flours,

3 baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice.

4 In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sugar, eggs, oil and zest on medium speed for 1 minute or until blended. Reduce the mixer to Low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. Fold in the carrot, apple and prunes.

5 Pour batter into prepared Loaf pan. Evenly sprinkle the walnut pieces on top. Bake for 1 hour or until the top of the bread is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean.

6 Cool for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen the bread and invert the pan onto a cooling rack. Turn the bread over so the walnut side is up, and Let the

7 bread cool completely before serving.

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.

Also of interest: Birds Nest Fern 

Spider plant (Cleome gynandra)

Farmers Friend aka Blackjack (Bidens pilosa),  a common weed in our valley,



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


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