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 20 August 2019

Garden Visit to the Fernmount Food Forest, August 25

Lunch at 1.00PM, Sunday, August 25

Go to Fernmount Food Forest Blog

The Lunch and Garden Tour is followed by seed labelling by those who can remain to label.

Remember to seek out the sign-in sheet on arrival. 
Please bring a plate to contribute to our shared lunch
Bring seeds and excess plants to share if you have any.

This is an eleven year old food forest with subtropical and warm temperate fruit trees, nut trees and subtropical perennial vegetables.

Go to Fernmount Food Forest Blog

The garden/home orchard/food forest has been designed using permaculture principles. 

Close to the house (in Zone 1) there are raised beds for growing subtropical, perennial, green, vegetables:
 Surinam Spinach, Malabar Spinach, Okinawa Spinach, Warrigal Greens, Perennial Capsicum, Chaya Spinach Tree, Stevia, Longevity Spinach. Herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm and Chives are scattered near the house.

Annual Leaf Amaranth and Perennial Shallots, Pineapples, Olives, Blueberries and Onions are also growing in Zone 1

Also in Zone 1 are Persimmon, Bamboo (edible shoots) Olives, Pineapples, a Forest Pansy (edible flowers), Blueberries and Nasturtiums.

Go to Fernmount Food Forest Blog

Down the main path (Zone 2) there are some terraced gardens with beans, yam bean, rocket, leaf amaranth, garlic chives and perennial onions presently flourishing.

Zone 3 has fruit and nut trees. The variety of trees in various microclimates and the number of species provides a constant food harvest rather than a glut of fruit at any one harvest period. 

The area above the main path has 300 square metres of drip irrigation fed by pump-out from the ‘worm inoculated’ waste system. That area has a huge range of citrus trees (oranges, blood oranges, mandarins, kumquats, kaffir lime, limes, sweet limes, grapefruit, lemonade, finger limes)  as well as Cavendish and Lady Finger Bananas, Custard Apples, Kiwi Fruit, Black Sapote, Pomegranate, Dragon Fruit, Kwai Muk, Wax Jambu, Soursop, Macadamia Nuts and Pecan Trees.

Below the wide, main path (designed for vehicle use if necessary) is an intensively planted variety of fruit and nut trees including Star Fruit, Custard Apples, Rollinia, Cherimoya, Apples (on the colder lower slope), Peaches, Nectarines, Japanese Plums, Davidson Plum, Herbert River Cherry, Blue Java Banana, Choko, Tamarillos, Mamey Sapote, Abiu, Amla, Jack Fruit, Pitomba and Avocado.

A small dam serves as a water resource backup if required. The dam and nearby native trees provide a haven for insect eating birds (Zone 4).  Throughout the garden salvias and other plants also attract bees and birds. Plants are specifically grown for cut and drop mulch including, salvias, Vetiver Grass and Tithonia. A hive of native bees (behind the useful steel shed) assists with pollination.

Seven taps are connected to the pressure pump on the 22 500 L rainwater tank (with an option for town water top-up when required) and a mains pressure tap is sited at the water meter.

Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.

Organiser: Leela O'Callaghan gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com

Seed packing at Gillians, August 17

When seed packing it's always a pleasure to discover some interesting additions to our range of seeds, like the Peruvian Polenta Corn that is used for tortillas and the African cucurbits. 

We are going to have our best ever range of saved seeds for the September 14th Spring Plant Fair in Bellingen. 

 We always have plenty of growing news, as well as other news, to share; and of course we always bring plenty of finger food to share as well.

Packing New Guinea Bean.
 Seed Saver Fiona produced a huge crop of New Guinea Beans this year. It is well worth growing in our climate.

"From time to time I'm asked, 'What can I grow in the vegie patch that's a bit different?' Well this is definitely different."

"This is a New Guinea Bean (Lagenaria siceraria), which ironically is neither from New Guinea - it's actually from Africa - and it's not even a bean! It's actually a climbing edible gourd or squash - a member of the cucurbit family."

"If you let them grow as big as they want to, they'll get to a metre plus long and five kilograms. However, if you want to eat them as a vegetable, you harvest them anywhere from around 30 to 60 centimetres long."

"Their flesh, if you eat it raw, tastes like a cross between zucchini and cucumber - nicer than raw zucchini. They can be cooked for all sorts of things - we made a delicious cake out of it - better than any carrot cake you've tasted!"

"The thing I love about the New Guinea Bean is that it's so vigorous. Last year, it actually covered the whole of one of my arbours and created a great amount of shade. I was late getting it in this year, so it's not going to get quite as big, but I can still get some beautiful beans off it before the frost nibbles at the foliage and causes it to die off for me."

"If you live in the tropics and you have trouble growing normal beans because of fungal diseases, this will absolutely love the conditions. So, if you like things unusual, give a New Guinea Bean a shot in your vegie patch!"   From ABC Plant Profile 

Cleaning seed

Packed seeds ready for labelling
On Sunday, August 25th, we will be labelling seeds at John and Carol's after a shared lunch and a garden tour at their Fernmount Food Forest. The visit is open to all interested in sharing seeds and growing them for food production.

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Flowering and Fruiting in a Bellinger River Valley Garden in Early August

Despite that it is still the first week of August it is very early Spring on the Coffs Coast. In the Fernmount Food Forest fruit trees are bursting into flower if they are receiving some northern sun.

 All through Winter self-sown Amaranth plants have thrived in a sunny spot.

Seedling Black Sapote (Pic by Peter Hardinge)
 This seedling Black Sapote is covered in fruit this year.

Mandarins and Lemons (Pic by Peter Hardinge)
We are suffering some insect damage but the citrus fruit is still abundant and juicy.

Dwarf White Peach

Monday 5 August 2019

What are Heirloom, Hybrid and GMO Vegetable Seeds and More?: Video

In this video John will ask Jere many questions about seeds including what is an heirloom seed? What is a hybrid seed? and What is a GMO seed? and much, much more.

Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ interviews Jere Gettle, seed collector and founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

In this episode, you will learn the question to the following answers:
 01:10 Why did you Start Selling Heirloom Seeds and How old were you?
02:00 What is an Heirloom Seed?
02:52 Is there a minimum age needed to call something an Heirloom?
03:39 Why Grow Heirloom Herbs, Vegetables and Fruits?
04:52 Do you explain where heirloom seeds were grown in your seed catalog? Why is it important? 06:57 What is a Hybrid Seed / Vegetable ?
09:07 Is it true that if you grow a hybrid for 6 generations will the seed stabilize?
10:21 Should you never grow a hybrid vegetable from seed?
11:49 What is a GMO Seed and Vegetable?
14:22 What is an open pollinated Plant?
15:36 Are all heirlooms organic?
23:00 Why is it important for people to save their own seeds?
24:16 What is the best way to store your seeds?
26:17 What are new seeds that Baker Creek will introduce soon?
29:51 What are your thoughts on deeply pigmented vegetables?
31:40 What are some of the varieties of deeply pigmented vegetables you are bringing in?
33:05 Why did you start the National Heirloom Expo?
34:17 You have been described as a "hippy freak" what are your thoughts on this?
37:30 Why do you decide the eat a plant based diet why is it important to eat more plants?
41:45 How can someone by your heirloom seeds and get a free catalog?


Selecting Seeds: Heirloom vs Organic vs Hybrid vs GMO


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