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, 8 October 2019
Newsletter, October 201
Thank you to Gillian for generously hosting the seed packing for the Spring Plant Fair.
A team of 12 happy hard working volunteers made a fun time of packing approximately 600 packets of seed.
Thank you to all who donated seed and / or helped clean and pack.
John and Carol's food forest
people visited John and Carol's garden in Fernmount, including some new
faces (welcome and we hope to see you again). We started with some chit
chat before starting on the best lunch in town. The hosts had prepared a
couple of beautiful curries with rice and the guests supplemented those
with a range of savoury and sweet dishes.
lunch John took us on a tour of their well established food forest. We
started at the front of the house with it's well established large
shrubs. At the side of the house we passed some garden beds mainly used
for perennial vegetables. The property was well screened from the
neighbouring house with some big stands of various.
Next we went
on a loop walk through the main food forest at the back of the house.
There were a large variety of exotic trees and more common fruit trees,
plus lower layers. As we toured the garden there were many stop and try
points, where we sampled the produce. Examples of tasting included,
sweet leaf, cape gooseberries, Australian sweet limes and some herbs.
John showed how he has handled drainage on their fairly steep block.
There was a mountain of citrus waiting to be harvested. The garden was
obviously attractive to fruit eaters based on us finding a flying fox
sheltering in one of the trees.
At the end of the tour there was
plenty of stuff to be taken from the sharing table. John and Carol also
generously offered people could take grapefruit, mandarins or sweet
limes. Thanks for hosting a very enjoyable afternoon.
the enjoyable stroll around the food forest, everyone decided to stay
on to label the 600 packets of seeds ready for the plant fair. Many
hands made light work and the time passed quickly with plenty of chatter
around each table.
For those people unfamiliar with the seed
packing and seed labelling in preparation for the plant fair, there is a
good reason that they are done on separate days. At the seed packing
day, we start with a collection of seeds and many others arrive on the
day. The seeds are then cleaned and packed into sale size lots in
ziplock bags. At the start of the day we do not know all of the seed
varieties we will get, let alone how many packets of each. Enter Jeff!
After the seed packing day, Jeff takes away all of the packed seeds and
compares them to our inventory and previous sale records and decides how
many of each seed lot we are likely to sell. Next he prints out several
hundred labels and gets everything well organised, so that on the
labelling datings run like clockwork.
Thanks to Carol and John for hosting the seed labelling, Jeff for organising and the volunteers.
Spring plant fair
weather contributed to a very busy and successful plant fair. We
distributed our entire range of plant material, over half of our stock
of seed packets and a bundle of Seed Savers books.
Our range of
perennial herbs, fruits and vegetables were very popular, including:
Yacon (thanks to the tasting samples), Okinawa & Longevity spinach,
Chaya spinach tree, Surinam spinach, Hibiscus spinach tree, Aloe Vera,
red sugar cane, strawberries, lemon grass, pomelo and ginger.
Popular seed packets included: sweet basil, Thai basil, butter beans, various types of snake bean, coriander, climbing spinach (Basella), true-gold sweet corn, echinacea, elderberry, Florence fennel, pineapple gooseberry, African marigolds, Italian parsley, New Guinea gourd,
red & blue popcorn, pumpkin (5 varieties), rockmelon, rosella,
tamarillo, tarragon, Lemon-drop tomato, Thai pink tomato, and 3
varieties of watermelon.
always, an event such as this can-not go ahead without a huge amount of
work by volunteers. I'm sure I'll miss some people, but the list of
volunteers includes Jeff for overseeing all of the work getting our
seeds together (he does a lot of the work as well). The people who
donated seed, cutting and seedlings. The people who attended the seed
packing and labelling sessions. Gillian for hosting the seed packing
session and coordinating the plant fair. John and Carol for hosting the
seed labelling session. Finally, the volunteers who set up, worked on
and packed up the plant fair stall: Tim, John, Gillian, Susan, Jeff,
Leela, Debbie, Chris, Gabi, Nick, Fran and Barbara.
Remember to seek out the sign-in sheet on arrival. Please bring a snack plate to contribute to our quick shared brunch
If you have them: Please bring seeds or cuttings to share.
The Wild Pollinator Count (WPC) https://wildpollinatorcount.com/ is
coming up next month (10-17 November) and is a citizen science project
run out of the University of New England. The aims of the WPC are to
collect information on which native insects are important pollinators in
crops and gardens around the country. Everyone has seen the European
Honey Bee in action, however many native insects also contribute to
Research is lacking on the identification of
native pollinators, their habits and how they are affected by human
activities. The WPC provides an opportunity to contribute to the
conservation of wild pollinating insects in Australia.
to encourage participation in the WPC by Bellingen Seed Saver (BSS)
members we will be having a “dry run” on the identification and counting
of native pollinators in our area. This will involve a visit to member
(and entomologist) Debbie Kent’s property at Brierfield on the morning
of Saturday 26th October. We will be hoping for
a fine sunny morning to learn about the project by observation in
Debbie’s native garden, vegetable and orchard areas.
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.
Are you looking for particular seeds or plants? Do you have an abundance of something to give away? Email in to firstname.lastname@example.org for your search or offer to be put in the newsletter in this section.
Thanks to Jeff for the photos and plant fair writeup.
Thanks to Leela for assistance with content and newsletter outline.