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 NiƱa 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.


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