Our second 2017 Seedy Saturday was just as successful as the first, with a new library member, more catalogs, and (again) more seeds! The Cooperative Extension Service brought updated lists of recommended varieties for the Interior, a whole box full of packets of ‘Calypso’ cilantro, and some information on growing cilantro that we can add to our GEB Plant Book. Our flower seed table was overflowing with new seeds, as were our Brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kales, mustard, radish, rutabaga, turnips, and the like), Solanum family (tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplants, tobacco, nicotania, and Sunberry) and squash family tables (summer and winter squash, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and melons). Other tables were not quite so overflowing, but were still pretty full of a wide variety of garden vegetables and grains. Again, many people new to seed swaps came, bringing their old seeds and exclaiming over new finds. The prospect of spring planting was envigorating! Library members may check out seeds at any time, while the seed swaps are open to the public.
Thanks again to the experts who helped us with this Seedy Saturday, including Katie DiCristina from the Georgeson Botanical Garden and Julie Riley from CES of the University of Alaska Fairbanks for the information and seeds! Kurt Wold of Pingo Farm brought several samples of his seeds and a couple of fresh fruit grown on his farm: an example of a thick-walled yellow storage tomato (‘Kholodok’) and a softball-sized, red-fleshed, green-skinned watermelon (‘Siberian Lights’). He also, as always, provided expert advice and good humor. Carol E. Lewis gave the talk at this seed swap, an informative history of the land-grant colleges and the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Alaska. (To download the talk, see the PDF.) The Experiment Station, which was initially established in Sitka, worked with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to create at least 70 cultivars of grains, turf grasses, hay, vegetables, and small fruits adapted to subarctic climes. The Station also worked with livestock: swine, cattle, yaks, and reindeer.
Thanks to the volunteers who helped with setup and take down: Marina Day, Josh Harris (not least for providing a hot lasagne to the hungry volunteers!), Carla Helfferich, Deirdre Helfferich, Hans Mölders, Monique Musick (who also introduced the library and the speakers at both events), and Syrilyn Tong (who made the colorful road signs, too). Thanks also to Aurora Animal Clinic, who provided containers, and to KUAC, who ran our public service announcement about the events and got the word out.