# 1 – Seed Saving
Allow all fruit to ripen fully before saving your seed.
Select the fruit that exhibits the traits you want in your future crops. For example: early fruiting, size (small or large), good foliage, etc.
When saving seed you’ll get the best results if you save seed of one fruit from at least 3 different plants. (Nature loves diversity, so keep that in mind with everything you do in the garden.)
#2 – Fall Planting
Sow lettuce, kale, chard, and other greens continually every week from now through September, and even into October if the weather allows. It’s called succession planting.
Various greens planted in August and even the first of September should have enough light and warmth to encourage abundant growth. You’ll be able to enjoy that abundance through December at least. And then throughout the winter with protection.
The later the planting, the less growth you’ll have now. But when spring comes you’ll have quick growth from those late fall plantings. And you’ll be enjoying your bounty of various greens before your spring planted crops take off.
#3 – A Cover Crop Strategy
It’s helpful to determine now where you’ll put tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers next year.
I space those plants throughout the garden so I don’t always fill an entire row with them. I’ll plant winter rye in the chosen spots (sometimes an entire bed; sometime only a 3 foot length of bed.)
I’ll cut the rye when the pollen is hanging on it in May next spring and then cut planting holes into the stubble for my transplants.
(And yes, I rotate my cover crops as diligently as I rotate my crops. Diversity is always an excellent guide.)
I think of you when I’m in my garden. I hope your harvest has been abundant and that you’re planting fall and winter crops.
Posts you may want to review:
Seed Saving – Why you’d Want to
Seed Saving – Tomatoes – How to
Lettuce – How to Have More in the Off Season
Lettuce – Greens – Will fall plantings Carry You Through Spring and Summer? This Post has Audio also.
Cover Crops and Diversity – Need more Proof?
Cover Crops – Ideas to Help you Make the Choice
Winter Rye as a Cover Crop – 2 Strategies
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THE WEATHER HAS MADE THIS THE CRAZIEST GARDENING YEAR I HAVE EVER HAD. TOO WET, TOO DRY, NOT ENOUGH TIME. NEW BUGS LIKE STINK BUGS NEVER BEFORE SEEN. NOT MUCH SIGN OF CABBAGE WORMS BUT SLUGS ARE HAPPY WITH THE WHOLE CABBAGE FAMILY. SOME CROPS TOO EARLY AND THEN DYING OFF BUT ON THE OTHER HAND IT’S PROBABLY THE BEST YEAR FOR LEARNING HOW TO GARDEN. I HAVE RESEEDED MANY CROPS AND BEEN SURPRISED AT HOW WELL THEY DID. FOR EXAMPLE, I HAVE CUKES STARTING AND THEY LOOK JUST GREAT BUT I LOST THE FIRST 2 PLANTINGS. A NEW CROP OF BEANS, THE BEST BEETS EVER AND DESPITE PROBLEMS WITH SQUASH BORERS I THINK CURRENT VINES ARE LOOKING GOOD. POSSIBLY THE BEST PART OF GARDENING IS LEARNING HOW TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS WITHOUT CHEMICALS.
Great tips! Thanks, Theresa…
Question… do you save seeds from peppers? I ask because I think peppers cross pollinate, right? And I just wonder whether I’ll get the same peppers from year to year… My space isn’t big enough to separate varieties very well, so I have cayenne, red and green bell, a tiny Laotian hot pepper, and bananas all in one bed and jalapeno in another bed about 10 feet away…
Great report Ray! And great attitude as always! Sometimes I think success in gardening has as much to do with attitude than almost anything else.
And you’re definitely right about it being “probably the best year for learning how to garden.” I’ve felt like a new gardener and am so excited about all the things going on in my garden. (I’ll write about it all after the season.)
I too have had to reseed a lot. Beans for one thing. The first few plantings didn’t even germinate! Now I have 5 spots of beans all in various stages and doing great.
Glad to read that your newly started cukes are looking good. This is the FIRST year that I’ve had success with cukes planted this late in the season. So far – so good. I don’t have cukes yet, but the vines show promise of little ones.
My beets too have been the best ever. Planting more now with the hopes of a repeat performance.
There is so much to be learned by hearing how others are doing. Thanks for taking the time to give us this update on your garden Ray!
Kelly, yes, peppers (especially hot peppers) are prone to crossing.
I’ve saved pepper seed in previous years and had pretty good luck with the results the following year. But since it depends on all kinds of variables you might get good results and you might not. Still worth a try in my opinion, if for no other reason than to have back-up in case – for some reason – you would not be able to obtain seed the following year.
Pepper seeds stored properly are viable for a couple of years. BUT – the percentage of germination goes way down the 2nd year.
As I mentioned hot peppers are extremely prone to crossing. You’ll probably have the best luck with your bell peppers.
Great post Theresa as always. I thoroughly enjoyed Ray’s comment as well. I have planted last years saved Anaheim pepper seed. Last year I planted one jalapeño and one Anaheim spaced 15 feet apart. I do not know if the Anaheim was a hybrid. That is not like me to grow hybrid…. I just can’t remember. Anyway, the Anaheim is not nearly as good this year. I started several plants and gave some to a friend. Hers were not as good either. So, with the peppers not good in different environments, it makes me rethink keeping those seeds. I would indeed like to find a good pepper that would grow great the succeeding years.
Theresa, where do you purchase your cover crop seed?
Tony, your jalapeño and Anaheim more than likely crossed last year.
If you save seed this year from the “not so good” pepper then you will probably get a different “not so good” next year.
If you get an open pollinated pepper that you like and only plant the one variety, you’ll be assured of getting good seed for the following year. (Of course, I’m assuming that you don’t live really close to someone else who is growing other varieties.)
If your garden has a building or other structure close by, you could use it to separate the two varieties. One pepper in the garden and the other planted and grown on the other side of the building. No guarantee of course, but I’ll bet your chances of getting seed that has not crossed would be pretty good.
I get a lot of my cover crops from Pinetree Garden Seeds (superseeds.com). Their price are reasonable and so is shipping.
I’ve gotten certain things from Johnny’s Select Seeds as well.
Hi Theresa (& Bill), I have the 1st 2 items covered, but thanks for the reminder on the cover crop. It’s been what seemed like the shortest yet most productive season ever here! The no till sure has made a huge difference!, good thing too…since the garden was left to tend to itself for the majority of the spring/summer.
Very little in the Garden department to complain about at all, besides finding time to harvest and preserve 🙂
Life’s been crazy here…without your help and a solid plan based on your experience, this year would have been a TOTAL waste!!! Thank You, hope all is well!
Hi Theresa. A clarifying question on saving tomato seed….when you say wait until the tomato is ripe do you mean just red or red and really mushy? I’m wondering if the seeds need some time to grow/mature. Thanks. Amy
PS. Greatest recent suprise in the garden…one of the onion seed pods I’ve been coddling to get seed from fell over while I was on vacation. Was I suprised to see around 50 beautiful sprouting seeds coming from the head. Scooped them up and put them on a wet paper towel in a baggie till I can prepare the soil again for them this week. They’re happily growing on my windowsill. What fun!
Best to have the tomato as red as it’s going to get. But no need to have it mushy. (You could still save the seed if the tomato were mushy, but it’s not a requirement for saving seed.)
We’re aiming for the best conditions, but when it really comes down to it — if you had to save seed from a tomato that was red, but not as red as it would get, you’d probably do ok too and the seeds would probably be fine. I say that because I’ve done just that in years past. But it’s a good policy to let them ripen as much as possible.
That must have been exciting to return home and fine those sprouting onions! Bet they’ll be strong growers!
I love to hear that even you learned new things this year, Theresa. I learned some new things too. I guess that’s what’s so great about gardening – there is always something new to keep it interesting. I’m off to prepare for tomorrow’s planting day. Thanks for the timely reminders.