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Expand Your Garden and Harvest Your Seeds

Once you’ve been gardening your own little patch of earth for a few years, you can stretch beyond your repertoire, and add to your basil, tomatoes, and peppers, or even harvest your own seeds for the following year.

Seed catalogs offer you a great way to expand your home garden, and you can pore over the possibilities: Rainbow chard or green? Bush or pole beans? Should you give garlic a try this year? Go for a hotter pepper? How about slender Asian eggplant, white beets, pink radishes, purple potatoes? Maybe experiment with different kinds of cucumbers, or add edible flowers to the mix.

But you know you’ve graduated to the next level of gardening when you can harvest your own seeds and plant them the following year. For example, save big, red-and-black kidney shapes from the scarlet runner beans and a medley of seeds from various squash. Nasturtiums, cilantro, marigolds, borage — collect them and then plant them once the ground thaws.

This is sustainability in one of its purest forms. You’re propagating food from your own food! You can anticipate late-August dinners of ratatouille and stir fry without having spent a penny at the farmer's market or even on a packet of seeds.

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