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.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

2021 April Newsletter

 Seed Packing

Thank you to Karin for generously hosting the seed packing for the Autumn Plant Fair.

We divided into two teams. An indoor packing team and an outdoor cleaning team. The indoor team chatted away, drank tea and packed seeds into the envelopes.

The outdoor team chatted away, drank tea, broke open seed pods, picked out chaff, sieved and winnowed to produce more clean seed for packing. This was done in the serenity of Karin's beautiful garden.

Once all of the seed was packed, we had a delicious lunch.

Seed labelling

Sixteen of the seed packers also volunteered to label the seeds on the following Wednesday. The venue was the Old Butter Factory in Bellingen. The group was a mix of experienced hands and new seed labellers and the job was rapidly completed. Just in time for afternoon tea.

Autumn plant fair

A warm sunny day plus the cancellation of last year's Spring Plant Fair contributed to a very busy and successful plant fair. The timing of the plant fair was spot on, as the next ten days were wet, wet, wet.

This plant fair was like a rerun of last year; lots of keen gardeners wanting to grow their own food and save seeds. It was our second busiest fair in 12 years. Again, nearly all of our Autumn – Winter seed stock was distributed. Of the 122 seed varieties available, the most popular were: snow peas, sugar snap peas, fennel, lettuces (8 varieties), rocket, green beets, Pak choy, Gai choy, broad beans, climbing green beans, coriander, basils (5 varieties), Red Kuroda carrot, radishes, daikon, chillies (7 varieties), tomatoes (9 varieties), marigolds, cosmos and echinacea.

We distributed our entire stock of plant material. Our range of herbs, fruits and perennial vegetables included: Lemon grass, Limes, bell chillies, Okinawa & Longevity spinach, three varieties of sweet potato, strawberries, mint, Thai basil, Clove basil, rosemary, and Jackfruit.

Seed Savers’ Handbooks also proved popular. We ran out, but our stocks have been replenished. If you missed getting a copy, email Jeff: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

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 the list of volunteers includes Jeff for overseeing all of the work getting our seeds together (he does a lot of the other work as well). The people who donated seed, cutting and seedlings. The people who attended the seed packing and labelling sessions. Karin for hosting the seed packing session, Gillian for coordinating the plant fair. Finally, the volunteers who set up,  worked on and packed up the plant fair stall: Jeff, Gillian, Leela, Jeff, James, Tara, Sue, Phillipa, Don, Ella, Nick, Merren, Chris and Michelle.

Diary Dates

Garden visit to Nick's in Repton

SATURDAY 24th of April, 10:30 am - 13:00pm

Remember to seek out the sign-in sheet on arrival.
Please bring a snack plate to contribute to our shared lunch

If you have them:
Please bring seeds or cuttings to share.

Tucked away in tranquil Repton, Nick and family are welcoming us again to see the progress he is making on his second productive patch. Nick is well versed in Permaculture and Hydrology Design, applying the concepts to his evolving garden. 

It will be good to all catch up again after the recent deluge and swap soggy stories.

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: Lisa O'Callaghan

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.


Thanks to Jeff for the photos and plant fair writeup.
Thanks to Leela for the blurb on our next garden visit.

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.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Garden visit to Fernmount Hyde and Seek

 Saturday's visit to Chris's and Merren's garden was a warm affair (in both senses), with friends and new faces congregating on the deck of the house, originally built by John and Carol Vernon.

Chris outlined the discoveries and their changes/additions that go with moving into new digs. They have decided to observe the annual garden cycle, before making any garden removals or rennovations. John thoughtfully left behind details of the garden's planning and possible plantings. So down into it we plunged, for a game of hide and seek. 

We emerged satisfied after finding a few treasures, with a great appetite for the spread waiting up on the verandah. 

Great day, Chris and Merren

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Sue's Baked beetroot, sweet potato & haloumi balls


  • 2 large/500g beetroots, grated
  • 1 small/200g sweet potato, grated
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200g haloumi, grated
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes or 1 small fresh chilli, finely sliced
  • A handful of basil, roughly torn
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • Salt and pepper

How to make

  • Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper
  • Combine the grated beetroot, sweet potato, haloumi, diced onion, minced garlic, chilli and basil in a large mixing bowl until everything is mixed together really well
  • Add the eggs, oats, chickpea flour, salt and pepper and combine the mixture again until it starts to come together and hold its shape. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, place the mixing bowl in the fridge and let it rest for around 15 minutes to allow the oats and chickpea flour to absorb the liquid. If you are struggling to get the mixture to hold, add a tablespoon of chickpea flour at a time until the mixture holds well
  • Mould the batter into balls with your hands, squeezing out any excess liquid back into the bowl. Transfer them to the baking tray and place in the oven to cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the balls come up golden and crispy on the outside. Allow them to cool slightly before enjoying with your favourite salad vegetables and sauces
  • Cooking time can vary depending on the size of your balls. If you want to cook these quickly make the balls smaller or shape them into patties rather than round balls

Sue’s Note: I rolled small balls and then flattened them somewhat with a fork once on the baking tray. I cooked mine for around 30 – 35 minutes, turning once. They ended up slightly golden on the outside but still soft inside. This recipe made around 35 – 40.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Vale Irene Wallin

 Irene Wallin was one of the founders of Bellingen Seedsavers. As a member of Transition Bellingen her contribution to that group was to initiate the Bellingen Seedsavers which has continued long after the fading of the original group. With her husband David, also deceased in 2020, her tireless organisation was an inspiration to those who now guide this group.

Irene was a passionate believer in the saving of local seeds and local food production. Vale Irene.


At a Seedsavers event

"Dear, dear Irene. In your quiet way you exemplified what can be achieved when a passionate, caring person devotes themselves to fighting for what they believe in. Whether it was the beneficial fun of participating in aquarobics under Irene's expert instruction, sharing visits to the garden events through Seedsavers, or the many social justice and environmental campaigns where we stood literally shoulder to shoulder, you have been one of the special people in my life over the last twelve years. Yes today is a sad day, but so many people can reflect with gratitude and pride to have counted you as a friend. I feel your loss keenly, Irene. Rest well." Carol Vernon

With her husband David

At a seed packaging workshop.

At a Seedsavers event.

At the Seedsavers event where we thanked her for her inspirational work.

 Irene's health continued to fail after this event.


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