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I wrote a book about preserving food. The same step-by-step instruction and full-color photos you find in my blog. Buy it at Yes, You Can 

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Sprouts is a terrific source for certified organic seeds intended for home sprouting. Dress up salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, spreads, and other dishes with homegrown sprouts of all kinds. Follow this link to order your sampler or to find home sprouting kits.


Small Kitchen Garden Store





Late, Late Bean Seed Harvest

bean seeds ready to harvest

My climbing beans reached the tops of the trellises and kept growing. Eventually, there were huge knots of bean plant at the tops of my trellises. When frost finally killed the plant, I found dried bean pods that I was counting on to provide new seeds for next year’s garden.

This past growing season, my climbing beans far exceeded the carrying capacity of the trellises I provided for them. When they reached the tops of the trellises, the vines turned back on themselves and formed a knot of foliage that concealed at least a meal’s worth of beans. Perhaps your bean plants did something similar.

I knew the beans were there, and left them deliberately. My thinking was to leave them alone until they finished growing, the plants died, and the bean pods dried up. I’d then harvest the dried pods and find bean seeds to plant next season, and that’s what I did.

bean seeds fresh from the pod

A single dried bean contained eight bean seeds. A few days after harvesting these, I planted one in a container and kept it moist until it sprouted. It’s important to test the seeds you collect. If they won’t germinate, finding out early gives you time to order replacements.

If you haven’t yet tidied your garden, you also may have seeds available to harvest. Dried, dead vegetables that look only good enough for the compost heap may be worth examining. Peel open some shriveled beans, sift through a frozen tomato or chili pepper carcass, or crush a seed pod from beneath the floret of a broccoli plant, and you might gather enough seeds to start next year’s plants.

I love extending my garden this way and there’s a possible benefit from gathering your own seeds year-after-year: Seeds that grow in your garden come from plants that have done well there. Each successive generation may adapt slightly better to your garden—perhaps imperceptibly—until they become ideally suited. You may even accidentally breed a new variety of your favorite vegetable.

Do you still have dead vegetables in your garden? Go collect some seeds.


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