The last tomatoes are ripening on the vine. Bean pods are turning brittle. Summer is coming to an end. Now is the time to become a guerrilla gardener. You can do that in two ways.
One is to save seeds. Seed saving is relatively straightforward for most plants, but sites such as Seed & Plant Sanctuary for Canada offer tips that will increase your chances for success.
The other way you can improve your garden is to support seed companies that sell organic, open-pollinated varieties. Open-pollinated seeds are the best choice for home gardeners because, unlike hybrids, they tend not to be as hungry for fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and water. The big seed companies prefer to sell hybrids because their customers have to buy new seeds every year. If you save hybrid seeds, your next crop may look nothing like the one you planted this year, if the seeds germinate at all. (There is an excellent overview of hybrid vs. open-pollinated seeds on Primal Seeds.)
When you order your dream (i.e., seed) catalogs this winter, pay attention to what they offer. If you want hardier plants and more intense flavor, forget the hybrids and drool over the open-pollinated (aka heirloom) varieties. They are the ones that can learn how to adapt to your ecosystem, unlike their vigorous but ecologically limited hybrid cousins.
Photo from Ajith_chatie via Flickr Creative Commons
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