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, 1 March 2019

Three Seedsavers properties for sale in Bellingen area

Three properties from members who have made major contributions to Bellingen Seed Savers are currently up for sale. All three properties are stunning and worth perusing the Real Estate pages for dream inspiration value alone.
Irene & David Wallin, who founded Bellingen Seed Savers are downsizing.
Nell, long time generous member who died last year. Her garden paradise of 40 years is up for sale, only 5 mins from Bellingen.
House plus Food Forest
John & Carol Vernon are selling their established food forest in Fernmount to retire and move to increase their Walk score.

Seed labelling for the Autumn Plant Fair at Gillian's in Fernmount March 5

Diary Dates

Seed labelling for the Autumn Plant Fair at Gillian's in Fernmount

TUESDAY March 5, 1.00pm - 3:00pm

Remember to seek out the sign-in sheet on arrival. 
Please bring a snack plate to contribute to our quick shared afternoon tea
On Saturday March the 9th, Bellingen Seed Savers presents seeds (including these ones you can help label) and plants at a stall at the Bellingen Spring Plant Fair! In preparation, we will gather to label seed packets, and share  afternoon tea and plant knowledge.

We have about 600 packets of seeds to label. After that we can go into full on relaxation mode with afternoon tea and take in the beautiful view from Gillian's deck.

Any questions, contact Jeff on seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com
If you are coming, please click here to RSVP, to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending. Please RSVP even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Jeff / gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com

Thursday, 28 February 2019

February Seed Packing at Gillians preparing for March 9 Plant Fair


Probably because it was on the weekend, we had quite a few members turn up to make quick work packing seeds for the coming Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair on March 9.

If you can assist on the stall please contact Gillian or ask another member for contact details.

Note the wonderful view from Gillian's deck.

Jeff, as usual, did a terrific job organising the seeds we needed to process and taking the photos below.

Gillian was a great hostess and lunch was a medley of treats, many dishes grown in our gardens.

"Thanks to Gillian who hosted the seed packing event, Jeff who kept us all organised, to the people who donated seed and to all the happy seed packers.

After spending the previous few days with the threat of being blown away, the weather was very kind to us for the seed packing event. There was not even enough breeze for winnowing off the chaff!

Eighteen volunteers turned up, and with guidance from Jeff and other experienced seed packers, we cleaned and packed seed. Approximately 600 packets of seed were packed into small clip-lock bags. The number of seeds in each bag is determined by the size of the seeds. Purchasers will get a lot more carrot seeds than Madagascar beans.

Besides gaining knowledge on seed preparation, and sharing time and lunch with other seed savers, participants got to take home some seeds which we had excess of and some free produce that some generous members brought from their gardens.

The next step is putting the clip-lock bags into envelopes and labelling them ready for the plant fair on March the 9th."  

From our newsletter

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Garden Visit to Leela’s in Dorrigo

Thanks to all who made the trek up the mountain for a look-see at Leela's latest efforts. The garden has now become very 3 dimensional and productive. She has been expanding and experimenting; some successes and some failures, and lots of learning!

"It's been a couple of years since some of you last saw my 'toy farm'; I have been busy experimenting and shaping my adventure garden and food forest. Having had some successes with grafting, I have planted new fruit avenues and optimistically snuck a few tropicals into the shrubbery 😉

I am also now experimenting with colonising the rafters in my conservatory; always keen to utilize a discovered microclimate! Some other projects are having greater and lesser successes, but still enjoying the challenge and experience of it all."

The living room and decks were brimming with good cheer and good humour, even when Leela hustled everyone out into the garden, plates in hand, before an ominous cloud rolled in.
The geese were chatty, the rain timely, and a jovial day was had by all.

A local garden in February 2018

When Paul from Barefoot Gardens trims our front hedge it makes such a difference.

New garden
 The removal of the nine years old Panama Berry left a sunny space for Salvias, Turmeric and Amaranth. We have planted a new Panama Berry below our shed. The berries taste like boiled lollies.

Great for green goodness in warmer latitudes.
Chaya Spinach Tree
 Photographed from our deck the top of this 2.5m Chaya Spinach Tree appears like a green mound of green goodness.

An excellent Asparagus substitute
Surinam Spinach
Surinam Spinach is great Asparagus substitute.

Crepe Myrtles, pink, mauve and white, are in full flower throughout our district.
Crepe Myrtle
Crepe Myrtles, pink, mauve and white, are in full flower throughout our district.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Midsummer in a Bellingen seedsaver's garden.

Even in the hottest of midsummer with heatwaves pounding Australia we have produce available and an exciting garden to explore.

A capsicum with a bite
Perennial Capsicum with a bite

Perennial Capsicum seem to grow more of a bite and end up like mild chilis as they age.

Baby custard apple alongsiude a chili
Baby custard apple alongside chili

This Amarillo Chili has grown up supported by the branches of the Custard Apple.

Amarillo Chili

Our first really ripe Chili of the season

Surely a most beautiful clumping bamboo
Mexican Weeping Bamboo

This clumping bamboo screens and weeps. It is easy to manage.

Baby Golden Hornet crabapples
Baby Golden Hornet Crabapples

Golden Hornet is a universal apple tree pollinator. The fruit is small.

Path to explore at the pond
Path to explore at the pond

Even tiny mango trees can produce.
Even tiny mango trees can produce.

We grew this small tree from seed. It may turn out to be dwarf. This a five year old tree.

The Amla has suddenly shot up.
The Amla has suddenly shot up.

Perhaps we will have fruit this season.

Curious chooks
Curious chooks

Not all eggs.
Not all eggs.

Grey Mugwort makes a great nest liner and discourages mites.

Tree tomatoes are a heavy producer.

Tamarillos are our most productive fruit. Use as a tomato or a desert fruit.

Green Sapote
Green Sapote

Although this Green Sapote is yet to fruit it still contributes a fabulous tropical evocative shape to our garden.

Feeding the birds with nectar
Golden Lyre Grevillia

This Grevillia is loved by all of our local birds.

Delicious fruit
Baby Acerola cherries

The fruit is scarce but delicious.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Using Coffee Cherries - Flour, Tea, Jam/Jelly

Coffee Flour is…

"…An agricultural innovation with the potential to do some really great things for the world. And we don’t just mean the food world.

Each year the billions of coffee beans that eventually make their way into the Americanos, lattes, and no-foam, extra-hot, triple-shot cappuccinos of the world are harvested by milling and extracting them from the coffee plant. The surrounding fruit, is discarded. It often gets dumped into rivers or left to rot in heaps. So we invented something better to do with it. Something that’s better for everyone."

Read the full article on http://www.coffeeflour.com/

Also read about
Drying coffee beans at home

Growing + Making Cascara: Coffee Berry tea

See also Making Jam without Sugar

#coffee #coffeecherries #coffeeflour #coffeejam

Monday, 19 November 2018

What Insect Was That?

In November we visited Tricia's garden in Brierfield.

Debbie Kent, an entomologist who has worked for both the NSW Department of Agriculture and NSW Forestry, identified any insect brought to the gathering. 

A civilised gathering.

Deb explaining Insects 101

Of course we always share fantastic food.

Checking out that insect photo.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

The Spring Plant Fair - September 2018

This plant fair was bigger and buzzing more than usual. The word on the ground was that shifting the produce market to the same venue for the day was really making a difference.

What do we do with the money raised?
It's a fair question that comes up from time to time. We are all volunteers, and the money raised pays for our running costs such as insurance, the website, the seed packets, bags and labels and printer ink. We have purchased extra tables and had banners printed for the stall in the past and this time around we bought new tablecloths for the stall, at last. We will be getting a second gazebo of our own too as the one lent to us by Debbie has proved very handy - thank you Debbie.

BSS seeds will soon be available in the Bellingen Library. We are having a seed stand crafted by a local cabinet maker. Stay tuned, you will soon be able to get seeds at any time of year, not just at the plant fairs.

We are also looking to secure a mushroom growing workshop in Autumn (we missed out last year) and we are cooking up another weekend away, both to be subsidised by BSS for active members.

Greenpatch Organic Seeds open day

Organic herb seedlings
Three carloads of us carpooled down to near Taree in time for the advertised start time of 10am. Only to be told that the day had been cancelled at the last minute due to the carpark ground being too soft. However, we were hardly the only ones who didn't get the memo in time, and within half an hour, approximately 50 people had gathered in expectation of the days offerings.

They decided to run the day after all.

We were all led around the property for a farm tour. 

Greenpatch have been growing organic seeds for edible plants for 25 years from this little 5? acre plot. 
 Plantings are dense, crops are rotated, they have their irrigation system and mulching figured out. To prevent unwanted cross pollination within plant families they use fruit fly netting. This covers the other crops in the family to exclude pollinators while the first one, the most ready to set seed, is left uncovered. They do this on a grand scale.

Their seed cleaning equipment is not much more sophisticated than ours. Their sieves are larger and they use a fan on a gentle setting for winnowing. For some seeds there is a sifting machine - a barrel shaped sieve run by a motor.

We were also given a seed sowing and propagation demonstration, and a talk on native stingless bees.

In between, we feasted on an impromptu morning tea and lunch that was magnificent.

Greenpatch have a huge variety of open pollinated heritage organic seeds for sale, as well as useful gardening bits and bobs including their fruit fly netting.


Thanks to Jeff for all our photos.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Diary Dates: Green Patch Seeds Visit October 14

Diary Dates

Visit to Green Patch Organic Seeds Open Day, Taree

Sunday 14th October, 10am - 2pm

We will be carpooling to this event, to arrive in time for the Farm Tour at 10am. Please RSVP if you would like to be included in the carpool, otherwise, see you there!
Entry: FREE
Tea & Coffee Provided    
Where:  Greenpatch Organic Seeds, 109 Old Bar Rd, Glenthorne, NSW 2430
Turn off the Pacific Highway at the Taree South exit taking the Old Bar exit and follow Old Bar Road for 900 metres.  The property is on the left hand side.
  • See where we grow over 200 varieties of seeds and 500 varieties of nursery plants propagated onsite.
  • Take advantage of over 70 years horticultural experience on the day.
  • Self Guided Tour. An excellent experience plus an opportunity to take a rest and enjoy the gardens we have developed.
10am – Farm Tour including orchards, herb & flower gardens, nursery production & vegetable seed cropping.
11am – Bee keeping. Anna & Sven from Amber Drop Honey are local environmentally minded bee keepers passionate to share their wisdom. Workshop information is to be confirmed.
12pm - Lunch will be served for a gold coin donation. BBQ - German Sausages, Vegetarian options & Salad. Tea & Coffee provided. Enjoy the music from ‘Dingo Creek String Band’
12.45pm – 2pm Plant Propagation workshop covering the basics of Seed Raising, Divisions & Cuttings. Neville a horticulturalist has been propagating plants in a commercial setting since the late 1970’s so he will be teaching you from his own experiences.
All Day – The nursery and shop will be open from 10am to 2pm if you would like to purchase seeds and plants or seek gardening advice.
Biocast+ with Lee Fieldhouse from Islands in the Stream will also be available all day with his wealth of knowledge. He will also have his Biocast+ products available on the day.
Coming? RSVP to carpool there
Organiser: Leela O'Callaghan gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com or phone 0417 536 490

November - What Bug is That?

Sunday November 18, 1pm - 4pm  and address unknown for web rsvp

In November we visit Tricia's garden in Brierfield, which is a delightful setting for a Q&A gathering, despite the lack of vegie garden action.

Start collecting your questions and specimens. Our resident entomologist Debbie will be identifying your bugs! Bring them in sealed containers only, we don't want them to spread.

Also bring your gardening questions to share with the group. Together we can find you some answers.

RSVP not available yet.


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