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.

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


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.
Jaboticaba
New Guinea Bean Gourd thrives in the wet weather.
Acerola
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. 

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.
Pineapple

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.



Fig

Grapes
Netted vegetable garden



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



Persimmon
Netted garden



Macadamias
Garlic drying on the verandah
Chili
Peanuts

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

Monday, 21 November 2016

Seedsavers Talks at the Centre for Ecological Learning Open Day in Bellingen

Seedsavers Erik and John were happy to support this event. The Centre for Ecological Learning is the Incorporated 'mother ship' for Bellingen Seedsavers.




Erik presented on Gathering and Saving Seeds and John presented on Edible Perennials to small but appreciative groups.


Learn more about the Centre for Ecological Learning

Charlie's subtropical garden at Thora.


On Sunday 13th November we visited our friend Charlies' beautiful tropical gardens and home in Thora.

It is highly productive garden and Charlie very comfortably lives of this land. His daughter sells a lot of his produce (turmeric, ginger, nuts, fruit) at the markets in Newcastle to provide nourishment to the city people and to generate income. 



Charlie and Karin were fantastic hosts on this very warm summers day. Charlie has lived here since the seventies and raised his family here. His children have grown up and flown the coop, but  his garden and his impressive collections of productive and ornamental trees and plants have kept on growing and keep on feeding his extended family.


Charlie has created a series of garden rooms and continues to expand. He uses permaculture and biodynamic principles and does most of the work by hand. While walking us through the garden he talked us through what tasks he was going to do in the next few days… and it was a list so long that less driven and enthusiastic people would take at least a month to get anywhere close. It was an inspiring day in an inspiring garden.





We drank many cups of tea and ate healthy and delicious food, as always we swapped plant material and seeds and a lot of good growing advice. A great day, thank you Charlie and Karin!
Report by Erik








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