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 21 August 2016

Fermenting Workshop at Bellingen Community Gardens August 18,2016

Leela's sauerkraut demonstration

After the fermentation demonstrations we planned and shared seeds.

Jeff's yummy kombucha

Jeff recommended the Grow Youthful Australian website for fermentation details and a starter plant. Go to Kombucha

Jeff explains the kombucha process (fermenting tea, sugar and water).

Leela's improvised sauerkraut fermenting jar with her commercial fermenting jar.
Making sauerkraut is a method to preserve vegetables as well as making a healthy food.

Leela also demonstrated the process of making milk kefir just by leaving milk to ferment.

Lunch, important at all of our events.

Nell's stir fry makes good use of all of her vegetable garden. It made a pleasant warm picnic salad.

Rae's carrot cake is always in demand

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Pics from July 2016 Seed Savers Packing Day at Nell's

Wow. What a successful seed packing day! Together we cleaned and bagged 410 packs of seeds; these are now ready for labelling at our next gathering. We also had the pleasure of some new faces... helloooo! Hope you enjoyed the day and that you will be back.

Not only that, but we cleaned an additional 490 bags of seeds; these can be bagged and labelled later as required.

Many thanks to everyone who supplied seeds and helped at the workshop on 17th July 2016 and special thanks to Nell Hayden for her delicious soups and bread that fueled us all for the entire afternoon.

Do you have any of these seeds to share?

Our seeds stocks are quite good now, but a few plants are in still in short supply: tomatoes (any local varieties), rock melons, zucchini’s, egg plants (long varieties, and large purple) and sweet corn. Jeff would love to hear from you if you do:

Potting up plants

Viewing Nell's garden

Packing seeds

Morning Tea

Saturday 13 August 2016

Why Seeds Should Remain a Public Good


"Seeds are the source of our food. Through seeds, farmers across the world earn a living.

And yet, three multinational companies hold over 50% of global agricultural seeds. They control the sale of these seeds and therefore our food.

We urgently need to raise awareness to the problems caused by the monopoly of agricultural seeds and highlight the importance of biodiversity."

Tuesday, 2nd August 2016

See the video

Naïma Pollet
Diploma project
HEAD – Geneva

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Perennial edibles for a 'warm temperate to subtropical' climate.

Bellingen Seed Savers also share plant material apart from seeds. Cuttings and plants of perennial edibles are distributed among our contacts.

Here is a variety of perennial edibles suitable for growing in the Bellinger River Valley. All have been grown by Bellingen Seed Savers members. Any of the fruits listed can be treated like vegetables. Can you suggest more perennials?

Katuk (Sauropus androgynus)

 'By now you should know Katuk is one of the most popular vegetable in the world, particularly in Borneo and my home in Florida. Now some information to keep the lawyers happy.....
 So, what does all this mean, beside don’t eat Katuk if you are taking something to open your blood vessels or lower your blood pressure? Enjoy Katuk as an addition to salads, a lawn-side nibble, and cooked in various dishes like you find in thousands of restaurants. Just don’t consume a half a pound of it a day raw for weeks or months and/or while taking an extract as well. I have been tossing a dozen leaves in my weekly salads for more than five years. I ain’t concerned.'  Eat the Weeds

Yam Bean

Jicama (Yam Bean)
Yam Bean

Turmeric and Ginger

Purple Yam (Dioscorea alata)
Dioscorea alata, known as purple yam and many other names, is a species of yam, a tuberous root vegetable. The tubers are usually bright lavender in color, hence the common name, but they may sometimes be white. Wikipedia

Coppiced White Mulberry (new young leaves)

Tamarillo, is a small tree or shrub in the flowering plant family Solanaceae. It is best known as the species that bears the tamarillo, an egg-shaped edible fruit. It is also known as the tree tomato, tamamoro, and tomate de árbol in South America. Wikipedia

Turmeric flower


Taro mashed with coconut milk

A grated green Paw Paw (Papaya) Salad





Lemon Basil



Winged Bean


Edible Hibiscus (smooth leaf form)



"Yacon is a perennial daisy with clusters of yellow flowers (see above) that grows to about four feet (one metre plus). It has furry leaves that are nutritious and can be used like olive leaves to wrap food or cooked like spinach as a green. The leaves contain quantities of protocatechuic, chlorogenic, caffeic, and ferulic acids, and these have prebiotic and antioxidant properties. You can also make the leaves into a tea." 

From Permaculture.co.uk https://www.permaculture.co.uk/How-to-grow-harvest-eat-yacon


Perennial Capsicum

Jack Fruit (can eat green as cooked vegetable)

Okinawa Spinach

Surinam Spinach
Mushroom Plant Rungia klossii


Kang Kong

 "Ripe carambolas may also be used in cooking. In Southeast Asia, they are usually stewed in cloves and sugar, sometimes with apples. In China, they are cooked with fish. In Australia, they may be cooked as a vegetable, pickled, or made into jams. In Jamaica they are sometimes dried.[1]
Unripe and sour type carambolas can be mixed with other chopped spices to make relishes in Australia.[1] In the Philippines, unripe carambolas are eaten dipped in rock salt.[7] In Thailand, they are cooked together with shrimp.[1]" Wikipedia

The flowers are acid and are added to salads in Java Reference

Canavalia gladiata, usually called sword bean, is a domesticated plant species in the legume family. The legume is a used as a vegetable in interiors of central and south central India, though not commercially farmed. Wikipedia

The Chinese water chestnut or water chestnut is a grass-like sedge native to Asia, Australia, tropical Africa, and various islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is grown in many countries for its edible corms. Wikipedia

Manihot esculenta is a woody shrub native to South America of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Wikipedia

Cranberry Hibiscus
Hibiscus acetosella is an angiosperm of the genus Hibiscus or rosemallow. The word acetosella is of Latin origin and is derived from an old name for sorrel which comes from the sour taste experienced when eating the young leaves of the plant. Wikipedia

Comfrey is a common name for plants in the genus Symphytum. Comfrey species are important herbs in organic gardening. It is used as a fertilizer and as an herbal medicine. Wikipedia
(use small amounts)

Turmeric and Lemon Grass


Rhubarb is a species of plant in the family Polygonaceae. It is a herbaceous perennial growing from short, thick rhizomes. Wikipedia

Rhubarb stalks can be used as a vegetable in stews
Green Harvest can supply many of these plants if you can't hook up with a local or make it to the Bellingen Plant Fairs.

Oca has succulent clover-like leaves and produces a small, pink, delicious tuber. Suited to cooler temperate climates, tolerant of high altitudes and a wide variety of soil types.(Green Harvest)

Oca should grow well on the Dorrigo Plateau. It finds the Bellingen Valley a little too steamy.

Peanuts can be grown from southern NSW to northern Australia in areas with 5 months of warm frost-free weather. Green Harvest

Sawtooth Coriander

Lemon Balm

Society Garlic

Vietnamese Mint

Zatar (Mother of Herbs)

Pigeon Peas self seed quite well in our valley Green Harvest

Lebanese Cress
Aethionema cordifolium
Grows best in shallow water. Pic from Green Harvest

Jerusalem Artichoke Green Harvest

Day Lily (Daley's Nursery)

Garlic (Wikipedia)

Sweet Potato (Garden Drum)

Basella - red form (Garden Drum)

Choko (Garden Drum)

Luffa or loofah are not susceptible to mildew like zucchinis. Eat young. (Garden Drum)

Pumpkin. You eat the shoots as well. (Garden Drum)
Camelia sinensis - Tea (Garden Drum)



 Rumex acetosa meaning garden sorrel and Rumex scutatus meaning French sorrel are more often grown in herb or vegetable gardens for their leaves which are typically added to salads, soups, omelettes and sauces.


Bamboo shoots

 Malabar Chestnut

Sweetleaf or Katuk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8EA1dpruWQ


Brazilian Spinach (Alternanthera sissoo)


The site below and other sites suggest eating other types of Alternanthera, a common plant in our gardens.

"8. Joy weed, Alternanthera, Gomphrena   (Alternanthera aurea)
        Cultivar/variety: 'Exhibition Border Gold'

Alternanthera aurea 'Exhibition Border Gold' is a colourful groundcovering perennial, with small green leaves blotched with gold. Use as a contrast or accent plant in warmer areas, or as an annual in cooler climates, as it is frost tender. It makes a good low hedge...
  ...learn more about the 'Exhibition Border Gold' variety
alternanthera bettzickiana_exhibition border red.

9. Joy weed, Calico plant, Alternanthera   (Alternanthera bettzickiana)
        Cultivar/variety: 'Exhibition Border Red'

Alternanthera  bettzickiana 'Exhibition Border Red' is a colourful groundcovering perennial, with small burgundy leaves blotched with bright pink. Use as a contrast or accent plant in warmer areas, or as an annual in cooler climates, as it is frost tender. It makes a good low...
  ...learn more about the 'Exhibition Border Red' variety"

Green Dean (Eat The Weeds) also says Alternanthera are edible. See below:

"There are many Alternanthera in warmer area so key out the plant carefully. A. philoseroides is the most common. Four known edibles are A. ficoidea, A sessilis, A. sissoo, and A. versicolor.  A. sessilis is well-distributed in the U.S., A. ficoieda is rare.  A. versicolor is found in Asia. A sissoo is a common green in South America but must be cooked."

For more information about perennial edibles
See also:

Bellingen Seedsavers 


"Flowers and edible leaves can make a unique addition to salads, or unusual edible garnishes. However, a few words of warning are necessary to avoid potential trouble.

Gardeners should always use extreme caution in consuming anything other than the familiar garden vegetable and herbs. Most growers, ourselves included, avoid using toxic chemical sprays whenever possible, but at times they are relied upon to control various insects and diseases. Upon purchasing a plant, there is no way to tell whether or not it has been recently treated with a pesticide product. Each different chemical product has its own life span, the period that a toxic residue may remain on a treated plant. To avoid contact with any toxic residue, newly purchased perennials and herbs should not be consumed for a minimum period of at least 60 days after planting.Edible flowers should be approached with great care, in general, because of potential allergy problems in sensitive individual. In particular, anyone with an allergy to Ragweed or any other member of the Daisy family (Asteraceae) should never consume the flowers or any other parts of these plants. The link above and below will return a list of common members of this plant family.

Add any edible flowers to your diet in small quantities at first, to test the reaction of those eating them. Avoid giving any edible flowers to children under 7 years of age. Children should also be warned to never eat any flowers without the supervision of an adult.

Use extreme caution in selecting and gathering edible flowers, leaves or any other plant parts. Just like with wild mushrooms, erring on the side of caution is advised. If you are not 100 percent sure about the identity of an edible plant, DO NOT EAT IT, even in tiny amounts. Avoid using any toxic plants as attractive garnishes, in case a dinner guest (or anybody else not in the know) should accidentally consume it. Poisoning your guests is not a pleasant way to end a dinner party!"

From  http://www.perennials.com/content/edible-plants/


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