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 January 2012

Recipe for a very mild Sambal

This recipe uses local plants and spices. If you like a hot sambal add more chili.

Perennial Garlic at the reshooting stage

Perennial Capsicum, small but prolific

Lemon Grass

Rocoto Tree Chili - very hot


- One clove of perennial garlic
- Quarter of a hot chili
- A good handful of small red perennial capsicums or use a large capsicum
- 1/4 teaspoon dried nutmeg powder
- 1 onion, preferably mild, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons-  chopped palm sugar

- dash of coconut oil. Coconut oil adds flavour. Don't use olive oil
- 2 Curry Tree leaf bunches
- 2 Lemongrass stems, bruised
- 1 cm Galangal, peeled and sliced. Fresh ginger could substitute.
- 2 tablespoons Tamarind paste or substitute lime juice
- 2 tablespoons salt


1. Combine first seven ingredients and grind or blend finely. If you are not bothered by a more fibrous sambal you can also blend the lemon grass and galangal added in the next step.

2. Heat oil and saute ground ingredients together with curry tree leaves, lemon grass and galangal, stirring until the mixture changes colour. Add tamarind juice and simmer for another minute, then leave to cool.

3. Remove curry tree leaves, lemon grass and galangal before serving.

4. It will last at least a week in the refridgerator.  I use a large dollop to stir-fry climbing or bush beans but use to stir-fry any suitable vegetables such as baby chokoes.

This recipe was an adaptation of an asian recipe. You can experiment and vary the ingredients to taste.

Saturday 21 January 2012

January Fruiting in the Bellingen Area

Here are a few of the plants fruiting in this area at this time.

 This White Sapote has yielded a few fruit and as you can see there are more on the way as they seem to ripen over a few months. Bagging against fruit fly is necessary.

The cucumbers are at their most productive.
 Black Kale (Dino Kale, Cavallo Nero) are still producing fresh leaves although the older leaves are well nibbled by the white cabbage moth.

Keeping the birds away from the ripening grapes can be a chore.
 These Perennial Capsicums are small but prolific at a time when capsicums can be quite costly.

Rhubarb does not like much heat but the weather has been more wet and humid than hot and sunny.

It is time to dig the Cassava.
 The bush Butter Beans are adding to the climbing beans and Snake Beans which have been producing since Christmas.
 This Cranberry Hibiscus was a surprise seedling. A few young leaves added to the salad bowl taste like sorrel, contributing a slight lemony flavour.
At present this Mountain Paw Paw drops its fruit before they reach a useful size.

This Wax Jambu is producing loads of crisp, crunchy, moist fruit. These are great to eat fresh but not to everyones taste. Wax Jambu would really contribute to an asian salad with a lime juice dressing.

 This tamarillo has been fruiting for a month. If grilled, like a tomato,  a Tamarillo will add flavour to the breakfast plate.

The first of the Wing Beans are ready to pick before they become too big and full of fibre. These plants have regrown from the 2010, 2011 tubers.
This is a moth eaten leaf but the tiny sprouts of Purple Sprouting Broccoli are still being produced.
 The sweet basil loves the humid warm weather.
 The New Guinean Mushroom plant also likes some rain, heat and shade.

 The ginger has been shooting for six weeks now. It loves this weather and is growing in shade beneath the Tiger Grass.
 The unblanched celery is tough but softens when cooked.
The Snake Beans love the heat. Why do they attract so many ants? Picking each bean with a twist, so the growing point will fruit again, has contributed to the yield.  What is fruiting in your garden at this time?

Saturday 14 January 2012

Bellingen Seedsavers visit 'Ohana' at Thora

Rob shows us around his large garden. Click on any pic to enlarge.

Thora is about ten minutes drive west of Bellingen. Kirsten and Rob welcomed us and shared their large vegetable garden and orchard with us. The area has been reclaimed from weedy Lantana which had climbed five metres into the fruit trees. Rob and Kirsten used goats, horses and human power to clear the land and discovered the mature fruit trees. The garden, previously cultvated and now enriched with plenty of animal manure is very productive. You can see more of Rob and Kirsten's garden at www.ohanathora.blogspot.com.

The rich soil has been sculpted into vegetable beds.

Amaranth provides Kirsten and Rob young leaves for a salad

The tomatoes are protected from birds with nets

Rob grows large quantities of parsley.

Yellow Evening Primrose provides flowers for a salad.

Yellow Zucchine

Water melon

Egyptian Spinach seedlings

Seedling Black Walnut

Black Walnut trees provide shade but not fruit. Apparently they are also useful for rootstock.

A large unpruned plum.

A fruiting Persimmon

This mature Nashi Pear is loaded with fruit.

Mature Feijoas

A 1.5m resident goanna checked on our presence.


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