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.

Friday 27 November 2020

Garden visit to Fernmount Hyde and Seek

 Saturday's visit to Chris's and Merren's garden was a warm affair (in both senses), with friends and new faces congregating on the deck of the house, originally built by John and Carol Vernon.

Chris outlined the discoveries and their changes/additions that go with moving into new digs. They have decided to observe the annual garden cycle, before making any garden removals or rennovations. John thoughtfully left behind details of the garden's planning and possible plantings. So down into it we plunged, for a game of hide and seek. 

We emerged satisfied after finding a few treasures, with a great appetite for the spread waiting up on the verandah. 

Great day, Chris and Merren

Sunday 22 November 2020

Sue's Baked beetroot, sweet potato & haloumi balls


  • 2 large/500g beetroots, grated
  • 1 small/200g sweet potato, grated
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200g haloumi, grated
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes or 1 small fresh chilli, finely sliced
  • A handful of basil, roughly torn
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • Salt and pepper

How to make

  • Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper
  • Combine the grated beetroot, sweet potato, haloumi, diced onion, minced garlic, chilli and basil in a large mixing bowl until everything is mixed together really well
  • Add the eggs, oats, chickpea flour, salt and pepper and combine the mixture again until it starts to come together and hold its shape. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, place the mixing bowl in the fridge and let it rest for around 15 minutes to allow the oats and chickpea flour to absorb the liquid. If you are struggling to get the mixture to hold, add a tablespoon of chickpea flour at a time until the mixture holds well
  • Mould the batter into balls with your hands, squeezing out any excess liquid back into the bowl. Transfer them to the baking tray and place in the oven to cook for approximately 40 minutes or until the balls come up golden and crispy on the outside. Allow them to cool slightly before enjoying with your favourite salad vegetables and sauces
  • Cooking time can vary depending on the size of your balls. If you want to cook these quickly make the balls smaller or shape them into patties rather than round balls

Sue’s Note: I rolled small balls and then flattened them somewhat with a fork once on the baking tray. I cooked mine for around 30 – 35 minutes, turning once. They ended up slightly golden on the outside but still soft inside. This recipe made around 35 – 40.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Vale Irene Wallin

 Irene Wallin was one of the founders of Bellingen Seedsavers. As a member of Transition Bellingen her contribution to that group was to initiate the Bellingen Seedsavers which has continued long after the fading of the original group. With her husband David, also deceased in 2020, her tireless organisation was an inspiration to those who now guide this group.

Irene was a passionate believer in the saving of local seeds and local food production. Vale Irene.


At a Seedsavers event

"Dear, dear Irene. In your quiet way you exemplified what can be achieved when a passionate, caring person devotes themselves to fighting for what they believe in. Whether it was the beneficial fun of participating in aquarobics under Irene's expert instruction, sharing visits to the garden events through Seedsavers, or the many social justice and environmental campaigns where we stood literally shoulder to shoulder, you have been one of the special people in my life over the last twelve years. Yes today is a sad day, but so many people can reflect with gratitude and pride to have counted you as a friend. I feel your loss keenly, Irene. Rest well." Carol Vernon

With her husband David

At a seed packaging workshop.

At a Seedsavers event.

At the Seedsavers event where we thanked her for her inspirational work.

 Irene's health continued to fail after this event.

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Garden visit to Misty Haven

A happy group of gardeners turned up to Stuart and Emily’s Seedsavers hosting this month. Good, soaking rain had fallen and in one day the smoky, dry season shifted into a new La Niña wet summer.

Stuart and Emily were especially happy because their jaboticaba tree was bearing a massive crop. They took us straight to it, we had a quick fruit pig-out, and then went over the rest of the 10-acre property.  

The block is split down the middle by a moderately sloped ridge, with steep flanks. Soil here is mostly poor, shallow shale, with some odd spots lower down with the better deep, red clay loams. The land was once entirely clear and in twenty-five years, Stuart and Emily have planted hundreds of trees and thousands of other plants, for food or ornament.  

There are extensive vegie gardens - netted, fenced and irrigated, which at full capacity will easily oversupply a family of seven. There is a large home orchard plus an extra fifty pecan trees and a bonus blueberry tunnel. They originally planted three hundred olive trees, but the crops consistently failed and were replaced.


Water is stored in diverse ways, including several large rainwater tanks, a high dam, a lower spring fed dam (which never runs dry) and many small garden ponds.


Gardeners are happy with good rain and even happier with good food, and there was plenty of it. Emily laid on an extraordinary spread, washed down with jaboticaba wine and ginger tea, and bulked up with notable contributions from Omshree, Shunyam, Jeff H and others. Thanks to all contributors, thanks especially to Emily and Stuart for an awesome day on an amazing farm and thanks to Jeff A. and Leela who organised the day, but gifted their spots to others on this limited numbers event.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Bellingen Farmers & Producers Markets

 Our stall at the “Bellingen Farmers and Producers Market” proved to be very popular, greatly exceeding our expectations. 81 different varieties of mostly Spring – Summer seeds were distributed.

Tomatoes topped the list; the favourites were: Beams Yellow Pear, Red Cherry and Thai Pink Egg. These were followed by seven different varieties of chilli, climbing spinach, True Gold sweet corn, Thai baby corn, Bull horn capsicum, Mad Hatter capsicum, Mongolian sunflower, Bohemian sugar pea, eight different varieties of climbing beans, basils, lettuces, cucumbers, spring onion, mini-blue popcorn, coriander, rosella, pumpkins, rockmelons, okra, African marigold, eggplants, pigeon pea, wasabi lettuce, radish, squash, melons and various herbs.Thanks to Gillian, Jeff A, Jeff H, and Leela for running the stall.

Wednesday, 30th September, 2.30pm - 5:30pm

Garden visit to David Pepper's food forest

 David's garden in its spring guise was an uplifting experience. The ramble through the productive forest with our host was punctuated by pineapples and macadamias. We sampled familiar and novel citrus varieties, then Leela had a lively encounter with a bull ant, but no hard feelings (after about 10 minutes 😂).

The cooks among us delivered again, for a sumptuous table of goodies under the familiar mulberry tree.


Thanks to David for hosting and to all who attended for a great afternoon.

Monday 14 September 2020

Garden visit to Shambaba Retreat

 'Shambaba Retreat', formerly known as 'The Old Satyananda Ashram, is now home to a new Bellingen Shire family. They have taken on 12 acres of bushland and established gardens (both ornamental and productive) in beautiful Glennifer. 


Set up now to operate as a retreat and education centre, they enjoyed sharing with us the beauty of the property. We discovered more about productive growing in this unique, gorgeous part of the world.

Another joyful meetup for BSS at tranquil Shambaba, rich in exchange of ideas and produce.

We started off in the Mandala Garden and took part in a ceremonial ringing bowls experience. Then we stretched our legs to roam the park-like gardens, discussing lychee, macadamia and pecan management.

A generous verandah with panoramic views was then the setting for nibbles & networking over a lingering lunch.

Many thanks to Steve and his lovely wife for the warm hospitality and pleasure of the day.

Monday 10 August 2020

Newsletter for August 2020

Grow your own food. We share locally adapted, open-pollinated, non-hybrid seeds, plants & knowledge for edible gardening


Bellingen Spring plant fair cancelled

The spring plant fair for 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID 19.

Although the Bellingen plant fairs have been our key distribution outlet for our seeds and other propagating material, cancellation of the plant fair does not cancel our need to distribute seed. Therefore, we will be having a seed packing day on the 3rd of September (see below), followed by seed labelling the following weekend.

If you have seeds, please contact Jeff by email: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

You don't need to attend the seed packing day to donate seeds and vice versa, but if you want to do both: thank you!

Diary Dates

Garden visit to Shambaba Retreat

Saturday August 29th, 11:00am-2:00pm

'Shambaba Retreat', formerly known as 'The Old Satyananda Ashram, is now home to a new Bellingen Shire family. They have taken on 12 acres of bushland and established gardens (both ornamental and productive) in beautiful Glennifer. Set up now to operate as a retreat and education centre, they would love to share with us the beauty of the property, and discover more about productive growing in this unique, gorgeous part of the world.


Numbers of course will have to be limited, so rsvp to grab a place, then details and directions will be given to successful respondents. Please keep in mind the concerns of current times for the good of all.


Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Leela  gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com

Seed packing at Susan's

Thursday September 3rd, 10:00am-12:00pm

Bellingen Seed Savers will distribute seeds and plants in September. In preparation, we will gather to pack seeds, and share  morning tea and plant knowledge. Susan's garden is in Urunga.


Coming? RSVP to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending, even if you already know how to get there.
Organiser: Leela gardenvisits@bellingenseedsavers.com

Seed & Plant Swaps

Are you looking for particular seeds or plants? Do you have an abundance of something to give away? 
Email in to news@bellingenseedsavers.com for your search or offer to be put in the newsletter in this section.

Lindy is looking for Yakon; rabbits ears lettuce seeds. She can be contacted by email: lindy@lifehouse.net.au

Can you help? Please contact the person directly.


Thanks to Leela and Jeff for sourcing the material for this newsletter and our generous upcoming hosts.

When donating or sharing seeds, please email in the seed information so we know what we have (click the link, the email has the questions ready to fill out)
Email: seeds@bellingenseedsavers.com

Or fill in this PDF form. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to fill this out digitally. Remember to save each seed info as a separately named file!
Or print it out and fill it in by hand. 
Check out the Bellingen Seed Savers blog for recipes, local growing information, Diary Dates and garden visit photos.
Bellingen Seed Savers Chatter is our Facebook group where we can talk and talk and talk on all things seed savers and edible gardening.
www.BellingenSeedSavers.com is our website.
Copyright © 2020 Bellingen Seed Savers, All rights reserved.
You may have signed up at the Seed Savers stall at the Autumn or Spring plant fair in Bellingen, at our website www.bellingenseedsavers.com or at our blog http://bellingenseedsaversunderground.blogspot.com.au

Our mailing address is:
Bellingen Seed Savers
We do not have a public postal mailing address
Please email us if you want to post us something
Bellingen and surrounding towns, NSW  2454

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