The Growing Ester’s Biodiversity program seed library is starting small, but will grow every year as library members and farmers and gardeners supportive of our cause donate more seeds. Seedstock, held on Imbolc (the cross-quarter between winter solstice and spring equinox), will be our major winter seed festival, where library members can check out seeds in advance of the seed swaps and in time for indoors spring planting. Seeds can be donated at any time of year, or at the Rhubarb Festival in the fall. For more information, please see our Seed Library FAQs.
Note: a drop-down menu and photos will eventually be installed for ease of use. The list below is not yet complete.
EASY : comparatively easy or simple to save seed, few steps involved
Aster: Aster sibiricus L. (Arctic or Siberian aster)
- Siberian Aster. Wild aster native to the Arctic and Subarctic. Seed gathered in Alaska, locations unknown.
Iris: Iris setosa (wild Alaska iris)
- Blue Flag. Wild iris native to Alaska and Canada, growing as far south as northwest British Columbia. Seed gathered in Alaska, locations unknown.
Poppy: Papaver (misc. species)
- Ladybird Poppy (Lou Rowinski’s Poppy). (Papaver comutatum) Red with black centers. Annual. Grown in Ester and on Miller Hill.
- Peony Poppy. (Papaver paeoniflorum or Papaver laciniatum) Black, Red, or Pink. Grown in Fairbanks.
- Breadseed or Opium Poppy. (Papaver somniferum) Red or pink poppies, grown in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Sunflower: Helianthus annus
- Red Sunflower. Domestic sunflower. Black, medium-sized seeds. Grown in Fairbanks North Star Borough.
MEDIUM : a few steps involved, some care must be taken (fermenting, use of tweezers, threshing, etc.)
- Sunshine Hulless Barley. Developed in Alaska by the Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station and released 2009. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
- Thual Hulless Barley. Developed in Alaska by the USDA and released 1981. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
Bean: Vicia faba (fava beans)
- Guatemalan Purple Fava Bean. Saved for 14 seasons in Ester. Glossy, deep purple beans, two to four to a pod. Pods turn black when mature, are slightly fuzzy. Green beans and pods may be harvested earlier for fresh eating, although pods are somewhat stringy. Off-white flowers with deep purple accents. 60-65 days.
- Terra Hulless Oat. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
Pepper: Capsicum annuum (sweet and hot peppers)
- Sweet Red Cayenne. Numerous 6″ to more than a foot long mildly hot peppers borne on two to two-and-a-half-foot tall plants. Fruits shiny, ripening from green directly to bright fire-engine red with broad wrinkles, long and skinny with the occasional curl at the tip. Rich flavor. Ester grown. 65-75 days.
Pepper: Capsicum chinense (hot chiles)
- Ghost Pepper, Red Naga Chile, Bhut Jolokia. Interspecific hybrid of C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes. Caution: HOT pepper, approx. 855,000 Scoville units. Donation, country of origin unknown.
- Gazelle Spring Rye. Developed by the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada and released 1974. Susceptible to ergot. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
Tomato: Solanum esculentum (domestic tomato)
- Amulet. Red paste tomato. Indeterminate. Oval, beaked fruits with thick walls good for sauce or paste. Ester grown, seed from Chicken. 70-75 days.
- Aurora. Red Siberian all-purpose tomato. Indeterminate. Round, 2″-3″ red fruits, full, rich flavor. Original seeds from Seeds Trust. Ester grown. 65-70 days. (limited bulk quantities available)
- Azoychka. Yellow Siberian tomato. Grown in Fairbanks.
- Black Cherry. Brown 3/4″ cherry tomatoes, sweet with rich flavor. Indeterminate. Ester grown. 70-80 days.
- Black Seaman. Deep brown small fruit. Determinate, potato leaf. Original seeds from Seed Savers’ Exchange. Seed grown in Chicken. 75 days.
- Flammé. Orange, sweet round fruit, approx. 2″ in diameter. Deep orange flesh.
Tomato: Solanum pimpinellifolium (wild currant tomato)
- Red Currant. Wild ancestor of domestic tomato, indeterminate, produces abundant tresses of deep orange-red to red fruits approx 1/4″ each. Ester grown. 70 days.
Tomatillo: Physalis philadelphica
- Cisineros. Tall plants produce 2″-2 1/2″ yellow-green fruits. Likes heat. Ester grown. 65-75 days.
- Falcon Hulless Red Winter Wheat. Developed in Canada. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
- Ingal Hard Red Spring Wheat. Developed in Alaska. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
- Nogal Spring Wheat. Developed in Alaska. Saved off Chena Hot Springs Road.
DIFFICULT : many steps involved, isolation or hand pollination techniques required, two years (biennials), or other significant thought and planning
Turnip: Brassica rapa rapa
- Petrowski. Yellow-fleshed, slightly flattened turnip. Grown outside of Kodiak on Anton Larson Island. 33-38 days.
- Petrowski/Petroski. As above, but originating from garden off Chena Hot Springs Road.