What is Fairdinkum Seeds?
Me and the Mrs grow lots of cool vegetables, fruits, herbs, bushtucker, ethnobotanical and medicinal species.
We do it all the old fashioned way without chemicals, machinery, synthetic fertilisers or any of that other nonsense. We then hand harvest, dry, sort, pack and send the out all over the world. FREE POSTAGE anywhere in Australia!
We also sell a few cards and crafts the Mrs and neighbours make, and occasionally seeds we have traded with our customers or we have harvested from the surrounding bush.
What prompted you to set it up?
That’s a pretty easy one. Poverty, the greatest motivator’s of all!
Work was really hard to come by so we were growing and collecting as much as possible. The fruit picking was hard to come by at the time, and farmers/contractors were paying a wage that just didn’t pay the bills.
Therefore we were always on the look out for fast growing crops that had reasonable yield and a high level of nutrition that we could grow ourself to cut down on the food bill. I was constantly searching for new exciting plants to supplement our diet, but after spending/investing hundreds of dollars online and especially on eBay, I was really getting disappointed with the quality of the products available.
Lots of folks just didn’t take the time to package their seeds properly, so by the time they got to me, they were all crushed and broken.
Or the seeds were very old, poorly stored or mouldy, so the viability was way off.
Or they were not actually what I had bought, and it would generally take me a couple months of hard work to find out I had been palmed off a cheap substitute. (eg Normal supermarket tomato seeds scraped of a cutting board instead of “black krim” or “giant tree” tomatoes.)
Or even more baffling to us, we would buy ten really rare seeds and pay top dollar, and yet only receive nine.
Three of those would be obviously immature and unviable….
So disappointing, and I used to say to the Mrs, if only folks took the time to pack things with a little care, and added a little extra to each packet to cover any breakages or immature seeds, they would have me as a loyal customer for life. I would happily pay a little extra, to not feel ripped off and frustrated every time.
That’s when the lightbulb went off and we decide why don’t we have a crack at it ourselves!
Couldn’t be any worse than the competition, and at absolute worst we could only end up broke. If that happened, then nothing had really changed anyway!
What sets your business apart?
The things that set us apart are our attention to detail, and the fact that we ONLY sell seeds and plants that we grow successfully ourselves.
If we can’t get it to grow without any fancy treatment, then I would never dream of selling it to you.
We only store our seeds for a very short time and if they don’t sell we dump them, replant them, feed them to the critters or give them away. You will NEVER get old unviable seeds from us. Everything is less that 12months old, most of it just 1-3months due to our continuous crop rotation.
The other thing that makes us a bit different is the weirdness.
I love weird and wonderful exotic species and undervalued older heirlooms.
Why grow a “tomato”, when you can grow a “Brain tomato” ?
And having a pretty flower garden is nice, but a pretty flower garden that you can eat in a salad, or make into tea, or even use for medicine if you ever have the need to is even better I reckon!
Why just have a “Garden”?
Have a Garden and a Salad bar and a Pharmacy all in one I reckon!!!
Tell us about your family? Any interesting pets?
My family is just me, the Mrs, and our multitude of critters.
We have two dogs. “Bullet” the 7year old male Boxer cross and “Wilfred” the ~2year old shelter rescue we added to the family last year. He is fitting great and although he trashed a heap of plants in the beginning, he has become really handy at keeping the chooks and wallabies out of the rows.
Then there are the guinea pigs aka “fertiliser factories”.
We have 5 boys in one large enclosure and 7 girls in another several hundred meters away. There was originally just 3, hence the need for separation…
We have Chooks as well, 9 girls total. They live with the girl guinea pigs at night and free range the hills and scrub here during the day.
Lots of local critter too. Things like goannas, snakes, bettongs, wallabies, parrots, koalas, eagle, bandicoots, bearded dragons, and of course FROGS! Check out our Facebook page if you want to have a look. https://www.facebook.com/FairDinkumSeeds
What is your property like?
We are renting a scrub block here in a little town near Bundaberg Queensland. It is about 25acres, all of it very hilly.
Mostly regrowth bush with two little seasonal dams and a quite rocky, mineral rich soil. The total “farmed area” is just a couple hundred meters of hand dug rows near the house and a few little patches in the gullies and around the dams. If you can keep the water up to it (which has been our one major and ongoing problem) the soil is fantastic.
I believe that although everything has an ideal temperature range and soil ph, and the experts love to tell you that things are not gonna work unless you do what they say, I reckon 70% will grow fine just about anywhere.
It just won’t thrive and reach its full potential.
BUT, I also believe that the more plants you kill from one lot of seed, the more suited to the area the progeny of those few successful seeds will be. If you manage to grow them again, the survivors will again be more suited to your area and conditions. Ever generation of that plant continually adapts or it dies.
The plant that is suited to a hotter drier area, adapts to your cooler and wetter environment, as only the 20% that can handle it, actually live to set seeds. This increases the natural vigour and hardiness of those surviving plants, something that commercial agriculture just doesn’t do anymore.
Of course anything will grow in the ideal lab like conditions of commercial trial farms, but most folks just don’t have that, or even want that in their own backyard.
For this reason I grow everything we have here all year round, no matter the weather or season, whether it wants to or not.
Very often the new exciting varieties I get from all over the world in barter/trade with our customers, or that I have collected have a bit of a hard time the first couple generations, but by about the 3 planting, they grow like weeds!
I never spray with chemicals or use artificial fertilisers or wetting agents or use mechanical digging machines or any of that other nonsense.
If I can’t just chip a bit of rocky rubble out and stick it in the ground, whenever I want to, with minimal effort, I really don’t want to have it.
I’m far too busy/lazy to bother with it, especially when there are literally millions and millions of other awesome varieties of plant out there that I can grow instead.
What eco practices do you incorporate into daily business?
As much as we physically can.
All our packaging is recycled.
Recycled bubble wrap, recycled envelopes and cardboard packing boxes, recycled paper, the tape we use is uv unstable and completely biodegrades in sunlight after a couple of months and our higher quality 2mm thick baggies can be reused for years and years. All our fertilizers are produced by our hard working critters. All our planting and sorting and every other step is done by hand. All our waste is reused as an asset, and all waste is kept to an absolute minimum. It just makes sense to do so?
Tell us something interesting your fans/customers may not know.
Eat the weeds! 90% of the “weeds” in your backyard are edible and 30% of them taste really quite good!
They take no inputs or effort to grow, and are a very under-valued and under-utilised resource.
Dandilion, sow thistle, cobblers pegs, chickweed, purslane, clover, amaranthus, brassica’s, lactuca’s etc etc etc. They all make a great salad, curry or stirfry.
They are 100% sustainable, they are very nutritious, and they are FREE!
As a bonus, when you don’t use commercial produced food products, by wild harvesting weeds or growing your own food, you are not financially supporting these environmentally destructive industries.
Without a lot of effort I think it is reasonable to suggest most folks could reduce their reliance on supermarket produce by about ~20%.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, and it really isn’t, but the difference it would make in the health of our great nation is truly incredible.
The flow on effect would have a massive impact too, as the more growing and harvesting we have, the more trade too. Trade builds friendships and community spirit, which in turn lowers crime and community isolation. We all win.
Have a crack folks, it is well worth the effort, and if you keep it simple the effort is pretty minimal anyway.
Person: Leigh and Manami Nakervis
Business: Fair Dinkum Seeds