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.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Garden visit to Shambaba Retreat

 'Shambaba Retreat', formerly known as 'The Old Satyananda Ashram, is now home to a new Bellingen Shire family. They have taken on 12 acres of bushland and established gardens (both ornamental and productive) in beautiful Glennifer. 

 

Set up now to operate as a retreat and education centre, they enjoyed sharing with us the beauty of the property. We discovered more about productive growing in this unique, gorgeous part of the world.



Another joyful meetup for BSS at tranquil Shambaba, rich in exchange of ideas and produce.

We started off in the Mandala Garden and took part in a ceremonial ringing bowls experience. Then we stretched our legs to roam the park-like gardens, discussing lychee, macadamia and pecan management.

A generous verandah with panoramic views was then the setting for nibbles & networking over a lingering lunch.


Many thanks to Steve and his lovely wife for the warm hospitality and pleasure of the day.




Monday, 10 August 2020

Newsletter for August 2020

Grow your own food. We share locally adapted, open-pollinated, non-hybrid seeds, plants & knowledge for edible gardening

News

Bellingen Spring plant fair cancelled

The spring plant fair for 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID 19.

Although the Bellingen plant fairs have been our key distribution outlet for our seeds and other propagating material, cancellation of the plant fair does not cancel our need to distribute seed. Therefore, we will be having a seed packing day on the 3rd of September (see below), followed by seed labelling the following weekend.

If you have seeds, please contact Jeff by email: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

You don't need to attend the seed packing day to donate seeds and vice versa, but if you want to do both: thank you!

Diary Dates

Garden visit to Shambaba Retreat

Saturday August 29th, 11:00am-2:00pm

'Shambaba Retreat', formerly known as 'The Old Satyananda Ashram, is now home to a new Bellingen Shire family. They have taken on 12 acres of bushland and established gardens (both ornamental and productive) in beautiful Glennifer. Set up now to operate as a retreat and education centre, they would love to share with us the beauty of the property, and discover more about productive growing in this unique, gorgeous part of the world.

 

Numbers of course will have to be limited, so rsvp to grab a place, then details and directions will be given to successful respondents. Please keep in mind the concerns of current times for the good of all.

 

Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Leela  gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com


Seed packing at Susan's

Thursday September 3rd, 10:00am-12:00pm

Bellingen Seed Savers will distribute seeds and plants in September. In preparation, we will gather to pack seeds, and share  morning tea and plant knowledge. Susan's garden is in Urunga.

 

Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Leela gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com

Seed & Plant Swaps

Are you looking for particular seeds or plants? Do you have an abundance of something to give away? 
Email in to news@bellingenseedsavers.com for your search or offer to be put in the newsletter in this section.

Lindy is looking for Yakon; rabbits ears lettuce seeds. She can be contacted by email: lindy@lifehouse.net.au

Can you help? Please contact the person directly.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Leela and Jeff for sourcing the material for this newsletter and our generous upcoming hosts.

SEED SAVING DETAILS 
When donating or sharing seeds, please email in the seed information so we know what we have (click the link, the email has the questions ready to fill out)
Email: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

Or fill in this PDF form. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to fill this out digitally. Remember to save each seed info as a separately named file!
Or print it out and fill it in by hand. 
Check out the Bellingen Seed Savers blog for recipes, local growing information, Diary Dates and garden visit photos.
Bellingen Seed Savers Chatter is our Facebook group where we can talk and talk and talk on all things seed savers and edible gardening.
www.BellingenSeedSavers.com is our website.
Copyright © 2020 Bellingen Seed Savers, All rights reserved.
You may have signed up at the Seed Savers stall at the Autumn or Spring plant fair in Bellingen, at our website www.bellingenseedsavers.com or at our blog http://bellingenseedsaversunderground.blogspot.com.au

Our mailing address is:
Bellingen Seed Savers
We do not have a public postal mailing address
Please email us if you want to post us something
Bellingen and surrounding towns, NSW  2454
Australia

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Friday, 12 June 2020

June Newsletter with new event

News

What is going on in your garden?

I hope you have all had a wonderful time in your gardens or with your pot plants and window boxes. The seasons have certainly changed since the Autumn plant fair. The beauty of where we live, is that we can continue to enjoy gardening year round. 

Here are some photos of winter bananas in their pyjamas from Dorrigo, with one optimistic plant prepared to meet the Dorrigo winter head-on with a newly formed bunch.
If you have any tips for extending your growing season or photos from your garden, please send them to news@bellingenseedsavers.com, so that we can include them in our newsletter or blog.

I feel the need... The need for seed

We had our best ever plant fair in Autumn, selling out of many types of seeds.

As a result our seed stocks need replenishing; here’s a list of the main plant types:
 
Beans – green and butter bush
Basil – sweet
Bell Pepper or Bull-horn pepper
Bok Choy (white stem, dark green leaves)
Broccoli
Calendula
Chinese Broccoli
Borage
Carrot – red or orange
Corn – sweet
Cucumber – any green varieties
Dill
Eggplant – large purple and long purple
Lettuce – any green or red varieties
Rockmelon
Pigeon Pea
Peas – all types
Pumpkin – Jarrahdale, Buttercup
Squash
Tamarillo
Tomato – any red or yellow varieties
Watermelon
Winged Bean
Zucchini – any green varieties

If you have any of these please bring them to our next seed packing day or contact Jeff by email: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

Diary Dates

Garden visit to Dreamtime multiple occupancy gardens

Saturday June 27th, 12:00pm-2:00pm


How are things growing at your place? Reaping the benefits of hard work and saving seeds, I hope! BSS have had an 'unprecedented' demand for seeds and plant materials and there's been much enthusiasm for homegrown harvests.

To keep the momentum growing, we are planning a small meet up; to exchange seeds, surplus and stories. We also plan to tour a section of the Dreamtime multiple occupancy and see the beauty and bounty some of its members have been busy creating. 

Numbers of course will have to be limited, so rsvp to grab a place, then details and directions will be given to succesful respondants. Please keep in mind the concerns of current times for the good of all, and let us lose ourselves to the beauty of the Bellinger River valley.
 
Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Leela O'Callaghan gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.comor phone 0417 536 490

Seed & Plant Swaps

Are you looking for particular seeds or plants? Do you have an abundance of something to give away? 
Email in to news@bellingenseedsavers.com for your search or offer to be put in the newsletter in this section.

Tom Topfer is looking for passionfruit and lemon grass. He can be contacted by email: ttopfer@nextt.com.au

Marc Tonkin is looking for pigeon pea seeds, podded pea seeds and snow pea seeds. He can be contacted by email: matonkin543@gmail.com

Can you help? Please contact the person directly.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Leela for the garden visit invitation blurbs, and banana photos and to Jeff for the seed request.

Prizes

At some of our garden visits we have a door prize, randomly chosen. This is on top of the seeds, cuttings and plants that other members generously bring along to donate to others. Additionally there is food brought along to share, sparkling conversation and an opportunity to look at a beautiful and bountiful garden. If you been reluctant to attend our gatherings, please come along and join our group.

Congratulations Leela for winning the door prize at our Christmas gathering. She won a copy of the Seedsavers Handbook.

SEED SAVING DETAILS 
When donating or sharing seeds, please email in the seed information so we know what we have (click the link, the email has the questions ready to fill out)
Email: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

Or fill in this PDF form. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to fill this out digitally. Remember to save each seed info as a separately named file!
Or print it out and fill it in by hand. 
Check out the Bellingen Seed Savers blog for recipes, local growing information, Diary Dates and garden visit photos.
Bellingen Seed Savers Chatter is our Facebook group where we can talk and talk and talk on all things seed savers and edible gardening.
www.BellingenSeedSavers.com is our website.
Copyright © 2020 Bellingen Seed Savers, All rights reserved.
You may have signed up at the Seed Savers stall at the Autumn or Spring plant fair in Bellingen, at our website www.bellingenseedsavers.com or at our blog http://bellingenseedsaversunderground.blogspot.com.au

Our mailing address is:
Bellingen Seed Savers
We do not have a public postal mailing address
Please email us if you want to post us something
Bellingen and surrounding towns, NSW  2454
Australia

Add us to your address book


You can
update your email address 
or
 unsubscribe from this list

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Food Shortages? Try Chaya Tree Spinach

With projected food shortages now is the time to plant Chaya Tree Spinach and other edible perennials.

Chaya Spinach Tree
3m high Chaya Spinach Tree

Chaya Tree Spinach (Cnidiscolus chayamansa) is a fantastic and abundant food. Chaya leaves do need some cooking preparation as do Cassava leaves and Warrigal Greens. Wikipedia states up to 5 raw leaves a day can be eaten but other sources are more cautious. Although blending and drying also seems to remove the toxic hydrocyanic acid substances, boiling for 20 minutes is recommended. The leaves survive the boiling still looking green and attractive. The broth that is left can also be consumed as the toxic substances have been destroyed by the heat.

Cooking in aluminum cookware can result in a toxic broth, causing diarrhea.[13]


You are left with tasty green leaves to use as a spinach or chard substitute or to be used in a salad and smoothies.


"Chaya is a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron; and is also a rich source of antioxidants.[10]" Wikipedia


The plant does burn off a little from cold but seems to survive well in a microclimate in our warm temperate-subtropical climate. There are reports that Chaya will regrow from the root after Florida's frosts. In colder climates try growing in a greenhouse.


Leafless stem cuttings are best left to dry and callus before potting up. Keep the cutting reasonably dry to avoid rotting. 

Chaya Spinach Tree leaves for cooking
Chaya Spinach Tree Leaves


The Chaya Spinach Tree (a large bush) fits well into a vegetable patch. It takes up a small ground footprint and provides some shade to other vegetables). We can reach the leaves from our deck or cut a branch that will later become a cutting.




A useful green vegetable for the subtropics
Cooked Chaya leaves,along with Carrot and Starfruit in a quick pickle before refridgeration



Credit: https://www.bioversityinternational.org

Chaya can be used as a chard substitute in many recipes but here is a link to some Chaya recipes: Cooking subtropical vegetables 

Related: Other Food Forest recipes

Friday, 3 April 2020

What to do during self isolation



Some people are looking for ideas for things that they and their families, housemates etc can do during the current self isolation period. We are only to leave the house for necessities, which leaves some people spending a lot more time at home than they normally would. Here is a list of ideas that may give you or someone you live with something to think about:
  1. Get into your garden, that is the obvious place to start.
  2. Go to our blog and browse through the mountain of compiled material  
  3. Submit material for us to include on our blog to news@bellingenseedsavers.com
  4. Ask or answer some questions, or just read what others are saying on the Bellingen Seed Saver Chatter Facebook page (you'll need a Facebook login).
  5. Visit a museum online, for example do a virtual tour of the Australian Museum.
  6. Start some online study. See for example the good universities guide or open learning universities.
  7. Listen to some podcasts.
  8. Do something crafty - knitting, pottery, sewing, build a trellis, build a greenhouse.
  9. Keep fit - do some stretching, stay mobile.
  10. Cook something that you haven't made for ages or something from our blog.
  11. Phone a friend or relative. Some people are really lonely.
  12. Write a letter.
  13. Do some jigsaws.
  14. Start writing that book you have had stuck inside you for years.
  15. Camp out in your backyard.
  16. Unleash your inner artist. Draw, paint or do some colouring.
  17. Learn some music. If you don't have an instrument at home, you can always learn to play the spoons. You don't even need a tuning fork for them.
  18. Start a nature journal.
  19. Document your gardening.
  20. Do some star gazing.
  21. Do some cloud watching.
  22. When the next storm comes, watch it roll in!
  23. Get on with your todo list.
  24. Practise mindfulness and meditation.
  25. Learn to juggle.
  26. Practise some origami.
  27. Do some puzzles - Sudoku, crosswords etc.
  28. Organise your photo collection
  29. Clean out your email inbox.
  30. Go through your list of things that you have put in the too hard basket until you have more time.
  31. Go through your belongings and see if you can make a box of things you no longer need to give to a charity (when they reopen).
  32. Play some board or card games. If you are alone, you can play for free online here or here.
  33. Start tracing your family tree.
  34. Do some photography in your home and garden.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are heaps of things we can do at home. You don't need hectares of space. One man has spent hours of his life studying one square meter.

Autumn plant fair 2020

News


We had had nine days with rain leading up to the plant fair and the day before the plant fair things fined up. We were lucky that the weather was very kind to us on the day of the fair. The clouds gathering on the horizon held off until Sunday and Monday when we again received a good drop off rain. Darker clouds were also brewing, with the Covid 19 virus threatening to shutdown ... Well just about everything.
Leela's report:

The autumn Plant Fair was a bit blur for me - a joyful, busy one. Familiar faces and new enthusiastic ones, this is such a positive community to be a part of. People are really valuing the importance of connecting with the earth and being a little more sharing & self reliant. We got super lucky with both the timing & the weather - I'm already looking forward to the next one!
Jeff's report:

This was our busiest Plant Fair in 11 years. Good weather and crowds of keen gardeners made the day a success. 

Almost our entire stock of Autumn – Winter seeds were sold-out. The most popular seeds were: lettuces, snow peas, pak choi, chillies, carrots, rocket, coriander, spinach & chards, bok choi, tomatoes, marigolds, basils, spring onions, nasturtiums, broccoli, wasabi lettuce, fennel, mizuna, radish and all types of beans. We distributed our entire range of plant material, nearly 70% of our stock of seed packets and a bundle of Seed Savers Handbooks.
Our range of herbs, fruits and perennial vegetables were very popular, including: Okinawa & Longevity spinach, Hawaiian sweet potato, cassava, turmeric, sweet pineapple, aloe vera, strawberries, mint, lemon grass and curry leaf.

Special thanks to all the seed and plant material suppliers, seed cleaners, seed packers and the plant fair volunteers: Tara, Jeff H, Jeff A, Gillian, Leela, Tim, Don, Phillipa, Nick, Merren, Chris, Rosemary and David.
 
As 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 Jeff has done a good job of listing everyone except two of the most important people.

On behalf of the BSS I would like to thank Jeff for all the work he put in behind the scenes managing our seed collection, printing labels and just keeping stuff organised. Second I would like to extend our thanks to Gillian as our plant fair coordinator and generous host for our seed packing day.

If anyone is interested in taking the role of plant fair coordinator for the next plant fair, please send Gillian an email using the address plantfair@bellingenseedsavers.com

piece of history

Evelyn & Marc, the new owners/custodians of David & Irene’s property at Spicketts Creek, presented this gift of colourful zinnias. The zinnia’s, self-sown around the garden, are a lovely memory of the founders of Bellingen Seed Savers.

Quotes

The future is a little less clear amid the current pandemic, but here are a couple of quotes that I think are pertinent to current times:

“The future depends on what you do today.”
Mahatma Gandhi 

"With our long TODO lists around the home, we should see this as an opportunity!"
Gillian

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