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.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

More About Bellingen SeedSavers Visit to Carole's House

Hi Seed Savers

We had a wonderful afternoon at Carole’s inspirational house and garden this month.  Carole warned us that she had been away for a while and wouldn’t have much to show us – far from it!  From the bathtub of Water Chestnuts and the Taro to the extraordinary range of vibrant chillies, from the Sword to the Winged Beans, the pineapples to the berries and much more it was all so interesting.  Carole brings in as little as possible to add to the soil, concentrating on using her own compost. The garden continually expands, within and outside the netted area.  See the photos on the BSS blog.

The Cancer Council Biggest Morning (Afternoon) Tea that we shared at Carole’s was delicious and Lynda was able to send $50 to the Cancer Council so thank you for that. Carole even offered us a tasting of her home-made Davidson Plum Wine – the verdict was ‘beautiful’.

Lynda was asked by a number of Seed Savers for her Sweet Potato Cornbread recipe so this is attached. We many of us seem to have a large harvest of sweet potato so this was particularly appreciated.  Thank you to everyone for bringing such lovely food and for donating to the appeal.

Thank you so much Carole for hosting the May Gathering.

A Valuable Book:

I have Penny Woodward’s book ‘Asian Herbs & Vegetables – How to identify, grow and use them in Australia’ on loan from a friend and I am excited about the amount of detailed information it includes on all those valuable, resilient vegetables that many of our members have been growing and sharing in this region since we came together.  The book covers the origins of each plant, lists the names under which it is known, describes its appearance and method of cultivation, suggests a number of uses and gives some nutrional information.  Also great photos.

I brought the book to our last Gathering so that people could have a look at it and I subsequently placed an order for seven books at The Yellow Shed in Bellingen.  In ordering more than four copies, we receive a 10% discount on the usual price of $26.95.  If four or more other people wanted to acquire the book, I would be willing to order a quantity at this slightly reduced price.  Let me know if you want one.  If you are not in the Bellingen area, I would need to charge postage.
Penny Woodward’s website:  http://www.google.com.au/

Seeds for the Spring Plant Fair

Would you please let me know what seeds you hope to have ready for the next Plant Fair on 10 September? This is a good time to plan so that you can make sure you save the seeds from the best plants and protect them from cross-pollination.

Long Term Seed Storage

We again discussed this matter.  Although our main aim is to have our seeds circulating around the area, we also need to save some longer term. I took to the last Gathering a small domestic cryovac kit that might be suitable for our purposes.  A friend showed me hers and demonstrated it to me.  You can see it being used at www.idemo.com.au/shop/Ezi-Seal+Vacuum+Sealer/Ezi-Seal+Vacuum+Sealer.  Scroll down the right-hand column and click on the 1 min video.  The kit costs around $40, including four reusable bags and you can buy extra bags at $20 for four.  The price seems to vary with the supplier.

Maybe next time you are in a store you could have a look around to see what else is available.  I believe there are heavier duty kits which cost one or two hundred dollars.

I would appreciate your feedback on this idea – would you approve of BSS purchasing one?

Next Gathering
Jason’s block on Hydes Creek Road, North Bellingen
Thursday 2nd June

Jason has a block of land which is a bit further along Hydes Creek Road than North Farm (for those who have been there).  It is in the very earliest stages of development and Jason very kindly invited us to visit. It will be a great opportunity for us to discuss the design possibilities, whether we are in a similar situation or have spent years working on ours.  It should be very interesting and, as usual, it should promote very interesting discussion.

Once again, car pooling is highly recommended and all other details will be sent to you when you RSVP – by Tuesday 28 May please.

I would you like to suggest that we bring along the ingredients for any special tea that we enjoy so that we can do some sampling.  As an example, I love Lemon Myrtle Tea, which I drink every day if I am home. I will bring along fresh leaves to share and perhaps you could do the same with your favourite.

I am so enjoying the lovely Autumn weather – a wonderful time to be out in the garden working hard. Let’s hope it will be like this when I see you at Jason’s.


Hi Seed Savers

A few things have come up since I sent out the Newsletter last week:

The Books have arrived
We collected the seven copies of Penny Woodward’s book ‘Asian Vegetables & Herbs’ on Saturday ordered by:  John V., Rhonda, Carole H., Lynda and Jen (Laurie and I have ours).  I will bring them to our Gathering next week but, if you are anxious to have yours in your hot little hands immediately, let me know.  I will be in Bellingen for a few hours tomorrow – Tuesday, otherwise at the Growers’ Market on Saturday, so we might be able to arrange a handover.  The price is $25 a copy.

* North Bank Community Garden
I was at the Garden yesterday in relation to the Transition Bellingen Reskilling Workshop on Organic Garden and wanted to let you know how fantastic the garden is looking .  It’s a year since we last Gathered there and I will make sure that we do it again, perhaps in August.  Each time I go there I see the enormous amount of hard work and creativity being poured into the place by Steve, Jesse and volunteers.  I have mentioned before that Jesse had taken on Aleasa’s seedling business which is now located at NBCG and it is now powering ahead and I urge you to have a look.  The garden is accessible all day so you can go at a time to suit you.


Lynda's Sweet Potato Cornbread  

900g sweet potato – boiled and mashed (to yield 2 cups)
125g butter
4 eggs lightly beaten
Quarter cup brown sugar
Half teaspoon bicarb of soda
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup plain yoghurt
2 cups fine polenta 
Preheat oven to 180’ – butter a 20cm square cake tin.
Pure sweet potato in a mixer or food processor with all ingredients except yoghurt and polenta.
Stir in Yoghurt and polenta and pour into prepared tin.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
Cool a little before turning out and cutting into squares. 

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