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.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Garden Visit to Tim’s new Food Forest in Fernmount

There was more than met the eye in this new Fernmount garden:

Tim and his growing family have been living in what was a vacant block for just over two years now, some of you may be familiar with it as the former 'Secret Garden' nursery. Lots of planning, passion and effort has netted him a food forest, jumping out of the ground, out and proud, in the front yard. An unorthodox style, but then a little chaos always brings opportunity.

  Around the back there is more experimentation and innovation with livestock and microclimates; endless fun and education for his kids.

Tim tells us about his banana trees.
We learned Tim has recently gained an organic certification for his property. So he is careful what he feeds his livestock and where he uses his produced animal manure.

Friday 19 July 2019

Sandies's Bean and Yoghurt Dip, adapted by Shann

500gm thick Greek style yoghurt (drain but not too much)
2 green chilies, seeds left in and finely chopped.
1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
1/2 lemon. juiced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
40 mls extra virgin olive oil
40-80mls extra virgin olive oil
Two 400gm cans of butter beans, drained and rinsed.

Combine yoghurt, chili, mint and lemon juice in a bowl.
Season with salt and pepper and stir though the oil.
Using remaining olive oil fry the beans over medium heat for a few minutes or until skins begin to split.
Season with salt, add garlic and cook for 3 minutes until golden.

Stir though paprika.

Pour yoghurt mixture onto a plate and make a well. Spoon in the bean mix

Note: Adapt to taste says Shann
"Only add chili to taste. I mash the beans leaving some small hunks. 
I use less oil in the yoghurt.
I retain some of the bean can liquid in case they mash too dry."

Sunday 7 July 2019

Cooked greens with sweet banana porridge

Cooked greens with sweet banana porridge
This is an easy recipe that adds more green vegetables to your breakfast.

It also makes a useful meal at other times with different vegetables and sweeteners added.

Chop a cup of mixed greens that do not require extensive cooking to remove any toxins, such as Okinawa Spinach, Malabar Spinach, Leaf Amaranth, Longevity Spinach, Silver Beet and Spinach.


Cook chopped greens that do require cooking to remove toxins such as Chaya, Cassava leaves, Taro leaves. 

Add to a microwave bowl with a cup of porridge oats (I prefer traditional oats rather than quick oats)  finely sliced banana, milk, and your preferred sweetener if desired. 

Microwave until the oats are cooked, around 3 minutes.  Enjoy.


Experiment cooking greens into polenta and maize flour.


Growing and eating Malabar Spinach (Ceylon Spinach)

Okinawa Spinach Growing Information

This tasty vegetable grows very easily in the Bellingen Valley. It is a little cold sensitive. Protect from frosts.  Share cuttings with friends.
Green Harvest has plants.

From the Green Harvest catalogue 

© Frances Michaels

BOTANICAL NAME:Gynura crepioides
COMMON NAMES: Okinawa spinach, Hong tsoi, Okinawa lettuce
FAMILY: Asteraceae
ORIGIN: Native to Indonesia

Okinawa Spinach is a dense, low growing plant to 70 cm high. Easily the most low maintenance perennial leaf vegetable; it is a hardy plant and relatively pest-free. Thriving in warm, wet conditions Okinawa Spinach does best in subtropical and tropical areas; it is sensitive to frost. An attractive plant with shiny leaves that are green on top and purple underneath; the flowers are very small and orange. It grows best in full sun to partial shade. It needs ample water, rich, fertile well-drained soil that is kept mulched and prefers a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5.


  • Food: It is a very nutritious vegetable, eaten raw or cooked. The leaves and young shoot tips are steamed, used in stir fry, tempura, stews, and soups. Try not to overcook it as it can become slimy. The leaves have a crisp, nutty taste with a faint hint of pine. In Okinawa the leaves are often fried and served as tempura. It can also be steamed with rice if it is added for the last 7 minutes of cooking time. This leafy green is also known as cholesterol spinach, and there are many claims that it lowers cholesterol. Young leaves have a much better flavour than the older leaves.
  • Edible Landscaping: The vivid leaf colour makes this a good choice as a background plant in ornamental beds. Okinawa Spinach can be used in landscaping as a groundcover in full sun (with enough water) or it does well in partial shade. It is very adaptable to container gardening and hanging baskets and will grow inside on a windowsill with good light.
  • Recommended Planting Time: Cuttings are best taken when the soil temperature is at least 25°C. Rooting the cutting in water before planting will improve results. The plant responds well to pruning, rapidly becoming bushy. Pruning also prolongs its life.
  • Planting Depth: Cuttings 10 - 20 cm long should be half buried in potting mix and kept moist.
  • Spacing: Space plants at 60 cm apart.
Recipes from The Edible Plant Project :

Okinawa Spinach
Okinawa Spinach with Rice & Mango
Okinawa Spinach
& Grits

Thursday 4 July 2019

Growing and eating Malabar Spinach (Ceylon Spinach)

Basella alba is another subtropical vegetable for growing in the Bellinger Valley.

Published on Oct 30, 2016
In today's episode we look at how to grow Malabar Spinach in a container. We look at everything you need to grow Malabar Spinach, from the soil selection to the fertilizer schedule to the harvest and saving seeds once the season is over. We also include a Malabar Spinach Fritters Recipe in this episode!

Note: Baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are the same thing. Gram is chickpea flour. Experiment with your own flour batter.

Video: Longevity Spinach - Gynura procumbens

We grow this scrumptious,  healthy vegetable so easily in our Bellinger Valley. Use it like spinach or chard.


Okinawa Spinach Growing Information


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