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I harvested the last of my peppers and tomatoes this week (thank you, global warming) and so now it's time for me to belatedly share some of my fall gardening tips for freegans and cheapskates. First and most importantly: Seed saving, sharing, and swapping. Obviously, when you save seeds and then start them yourself, you don't have to buy or mooch seeds or seedlings. When you share seeds, you help others gain the same independance. When you swap seeds, you become part of an interdependent non-monetary network of people who preserve plant varieties while also growing healthy food and beautiful flowers for themselves. Luckily, you can get into that network even if you don't have seeds to trade, as some seed swappers are happy to give away their surplus, which would otherwise go to waste. There are plenty of online venues for seed swapping. . But before you can swap seeds, you've got to save some. Beans are easiest. Just let the pods dry completely on the vine and then collect the dried seeds. Peppers such as cayenne and paprika that you allow to dry on the vine work the same way. Just break open the dried fruit and set aside the dried seeds. Fresh peppers are easy too: Just set aside the seeds and let them dry for a few days before storing them. Tomatoes are the trickiest. As you know if you've ever sliced a tomato, the seeds are in a gelatinous goo. That has to be fermented (as happens naturally when ripe tomatoes fall on the ground in the hot summer, leaving behind seeds that produce "volunteer" plants the next year). Luckily, it's not so hard to do. Scoop the seeds and surrounding goo of a ripe fruit (or in the case of cherry tomatoes, several fruits from the same plant) into a small glass or jar. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap. (No store-bought wrap needed; a scavenged bread bag will do if you secure it with a rubber band or a bit of string. ) Place in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Swirl the seeds in the water a couple of times each day for [atarax 10 mg pills $108.00] the next two or three days. Then, watch with morbid fascination as the fermentation process unfolds. The good seeds will separate themselves from the mess at the top of the jar and sink down to the clear water at the bottom. That's your signal to pour off the disgusting scum and then rinse, rinse, rinse the good seeds with cool water using a strainer or coffee filter until they aren't slimy at all. Then dry them obsessively before storing. Here's a of the process. You can find tips for saving other kinds of seeds . Speaking of storage, all seeds need to be kept dry. Some people use envelopes; others use jars. Here are some . Whatever kind of seeds you save, make sure you choose the seeds of healthy plants that produced well in your garden. That way, over the seasons, you'll be selecting for the characteristics that are best suited to your growing conditions. If you have a plant that does particularly well under stress, produces particularly large or tasty fruits, or is remarkable in any other way, be sure to make note of it and save some of its seeds at the end of the season. For example, I'm saving the seeds of a volunteer yellow cherry tomato plant that established itself in what was supposed to be the herb garden atarax 10 mg pills $108.00, fruited throughout , and kept on fruiting until the first freeze. It's still alive out there right now! Also, remember that the seeds of hybrid plants don't come true. So don't bother to save the seeds from plants that you know to be hybrid. If you're not sure, you might want to try it just to see what you'll get. I once saved the seeds from a pepper that I got at the supermarket and they came true. On the other hand, I saved the seeds of a squash plant that had been cross-pollinated with I-don't-know-what in my garden and ended up with huge orange quasi-spaghetti squash with thick rinds and tasteless flesh. Autumn is also the time to do the chores that will make your organic garden ready to go, without costly soil amendments, next spring. First, pull up and dispose of any diseased or insect infested plants far, far from anywhere you'll be growing your vegetables and flowers next year. Next, assuming that you'll be reusing the plot(s) you used this year -- remember to rest them every once in a while -- pull up the remains of the healthy plants and pile them up for easy chopping. Use a hoe, ax, hatchet, machete, serrated shovel, or whatever else works -- I used to have a lovely tool called a Lawn Shark that I think was meant to be an edger that was perfect for this task -- to chop the plants into bits as small as you have energy to make them. If you've got them, add some dried leaves from nearby shade trees. Then -- quickly now, before the ground freezes -- spread out the pile and dig the bits into the earth, turning over the soil in the process. This returns the nutrients to the soil and also helps to aerate it. Atarax 10 mg pills $108.00 as long as you've done a good enough job chopping, the bits will decompose by the time planting season rolls around again. What if you want to plant in some new plots next spring? Now is the time to get ready for that too. Go around to those people who foolishly dispose their dried tree leaves and (unsprayed) grass clippings and pile them in heavy mounds where you want to plant next year. As they decompose, they will fertilize the area. At the same time, their mass will prevent the sod from sprouting in the spring, making it easy for you to turn the earth and dig the decomposed leaves and clippings into the bed next spring. (Needless to say, all of this advice is only good for those of us gardening in temperate regions with a definite winter break in the growing season. The leaves (etc) need some months to decompose. ) Trees often drop dead branches along with their leaves, so fall is a great time to gather long, strong branches to use for beanpoles, trellises, and other garden atarax 10 mg pills $108.00 structures next year. All of this typing has me hungry. I'm looking through my living room picture window right at an unruly volunteer wild rose -- well, you can't really call it a "bush, " more like a sprawly mass of thorny vines -- in the front yard. I think I'll go outside and nibble on some rose hips.