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 22 April 2014

Eat the Weeds; a handbook available in Bellingen shops

Save money and gather your greens. An easy to read handbook of weeds available for gathering in our local area.

"This is a great place to start if you’re new to edible weeds and a great way to learn to see your landscape as a foodscape. Adam and Annie have written an incredible book featured on the video called “The Weed Foragers Handbook”. The Permaculture Research Institute

Recipe Links

Wild Purslane Salad With Olive Oil And Lemon Dressing ...

45 Things To Do With Purslane - Chocolate & Zucchini

10 Ways To Use Dandelion Greens Kitchn Recipe Roundup ...

Sow thistle with onion, goat cheese and pine nuts 

Note: Always make sure you are eating the correct weed and it has not been polluted by spray or animals.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Gathering April 2014 at Jodi & Michael's

Bellingen Seed Savers' Gathering at Jodi, Michael and Quinn's hugely productive property in Dorrigo in April 2014. 

Here's a glimpse of their ever-evolving piece of paradise,  achieved by creativity, innovation and sheer hard work. 

View from the terrace

The chicken tractor fits the terrace beds and is moved frequently 

New swales will gently guide water into the new dam - when it rains!

Like-minded friends share their joy in their surroundings

The large variety of fruit trees are all grown from seed

The blue recycled half-barrels hold strawberries and hard-to-confine herbs such as mint.
Flowers are grown throughout the garden to attract beneficial insects and delight the eye. 

Jodi finds that the most efficient way of raising seedlings is to sow into soil blockers
To look at the equipment used click on soil blockers

Quinn enjoys foraging in the garden for
wonderful nutritious, truly local food.

Another successful Plant Fair

Excerpt from Irene's mail out to members about our stall at the Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair on March 8.

"I was very happy at the level of enthusiasm of so many people who came to the stall.   They asked lots of questions, acquired well over 300 packets of seeds and much plant material  - then went away smiling. We have another 24 people to add to the 340 already on our mailing list.  Best of all - two people who came to the stall actually brought us seeds.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, time, plants and friendship.

The March Newsletter will be with you shortly.

Setting up starts at 7.00 am

We also share useful food plants.

Click to enlarge to see the seed varieties.

For more photographs click here

Growing Jackfruit, Grumichama and White Mulberry in the Bellinger Valley

Grown from seed, this Jackfruit plant is five years old and has finally carried fruit to maturity.

It is planted in a sunny position, well drained but not irrigated. The temperature did not drop below one or two degrees Celsius in the previous winter.

This mature Grumichama (gold) plant produced fruit in summer. Black fruited Grumichama seems less productive. A young Saba (Malabar) Chestnut is in the foreground.

Eating mulberry leaves

A White Mulberry growing near Bellingen

Coppiced edible-leaf mulberry rows on contour beneath nitrogen-fixing acacias at Las Canadas in Mexico. perennialsolutions.org

White Mulberries are easily grown in the Bellinger Valley but did you know that in other countries varieties are coppiced and grown for their edible leaves. They are cooked as a leafy green vegetable. Some varieties are said to taste better than others.

"Mulberry (Morus alba) White mulberry leaves are cooked and eaten in at least several areas of Latin America. Cuban research has led the way to greater exploitation for human consumption.  They are very high in protein, and selected varieties have very good flavor and texture. Fresh leaf yields can reach an astonishing 53 tons per hectare. Much is known about coppiced mulberry leaf production as it is a critical fodder for silkworm production and also widely used as a fodder for other livestock. Now perhaps it it taking its place as a human fodder as well.
Link 'Perennial Solutions '

1. Lamb Stuffed Mulberry Leaves (not necessarily White Mulberry leaves)

2. Fried Mulberry Leaves: "They have so many items made from the mulberries, wine (which was sweet and so good), tea and even fried mulberry leaves. They are delicious, even the boys ate them."

3. Mulberry Leaf Tea
4. How to Eat Mulberry Leaves in a Salad

Step 1 "Collect young, unopened mulberry leaves in the spring. Once the leaves mature and open, they are toxic and no longer edible, naturalist Steve Brill warns in his book "Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places."

Step 2 Rinse the leaves in running water to clean them, then boil them for 20 minutes.

Step 3  Drain the water and pat the cooked leaves dry with paper towels.

Step 4  Toss the leaves with greens and other vegetables of your choice to create a salad.

  Another LINK: Trees/or shrubs with edible leaves?

mb-Stuffed Mulberry Leaves

Lamb-Stuffed Mulberry Leav

Growing Sweetleaf (Katuk) in Bellinger Valley

 Sweet Leaf or Katuk (Sauropus androgynus) will grow in the Bellinger Valley quite easily if given warmth with shade and plenty of moisture in a reasonably drained position. Protect from cold winds and frosts.

Once you have established the plant you have a permanent (perennial) leafy green vegetable in your garden.

These plants are growing at Fernmount (near Bellingen). They were grown from cuttings, which seem to strike quite easily during summer.

These plants are being tip pruned to keep the plants at a metre. The parent plant reached three metres. The hedge then becomes decorative as well as an easy means of accessing the leaves.

The small leaves are stripped from the thin stems. Young leaves are best. The leaves taste a little like fresh green peas. They can be eaten raw (a few leaves in a salad) but are probably best used as a cooked leafy green vegetable. The young shoots are also eaten.

This plant is a very promising crop for the Bellinger valley, for the home gardener or the small commercial grower. The average home will only need a few plants.

Read More & Warnings

"Leaves should be cooked with coconut milk or oil, ......"  Source

"Can also be grown from seed but cuttings are quickest to produce. In spring its fast growth makes beautiful asparagus like top shoots that are easily broken off for a salad or cooking. Can be cooked like any green, here is my favourite tropical recipe. Boil up leaves and tips with some onion and casava in coconut water. Take off boil and add coconut cream, chilli and soy sauce to taste. Delicious! Couldn't be more simple. I have lived on this dish. The smell of sweet leaf cooking is a savory delight."


 "There are reports of lung damage in seven months after consumption of raw katuk leaves with a dose of 150 g / day and after 22 months." LINK

"However, a study has suggested that excessive consumption of juiced Katuk leaves (due to its popularity for body weight control in Taiwan in the mid '90s) can cause lung damage, due to its high concentrations of the alkaloid papaverine.
Wikipedia: Sauropus androgynus

"Difficulty sleeping, bad eating, breathing difficulties, at a dose of 150 g of leaf juice consumed raw katuk 2 weeks to 7 months." /myherbsweblog.blogspot

Read more:
Soil: reported to tolerate acid soils, our soil is circum-neutral and they like it. We recommend lime just in case. Water: probably needs plenty, can tolerate brief flooding. Sun: Prefers shade, but can probably tolerate full sun if given plenty of water. Cold: Will freeze in the winter, but should come back from the stump. Pruning: keep pruned to 3-6 feet tall. Propagation: easily propagated by cuttings of older wood stems. Strip the leaves and stick it in the ground in the shade. It probably needs cross pollination to produce seeds and all our plants are clones of one individual. Pests: none known. Other problems: tends to grow tall and lanky and then fall over. Growth slows in the winter and the taste is poor until it resumes vigor with warm weather.  Edible Plant Project

Available Daleys Nursery, Kyogle and mail order or Bellingen Seedsavers

Recipe:  Sweet Leaf Soup

Recipe: Sarawak stir fried manicai (Sweet Leaf) with eggs

Thursday 10 April 2014


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