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People tend to associate harvests with food – fruits, vegetables, grains, maybe herbs. Of course, people who raise plants have another type of harvest as well: seeds (nonedible ones). Next year’s flowers (especially annuals and biennials) often come from this year’s seeds, as do most of next year’s vegetables.

The jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), for example, did better than I could have hoped; because it’s an annual and I want it to establish itself in my garden, I collected every single seed I could and spread them around. From five plants, hopefully many more will return next year and then the population will sustain itself without any intervention on my part. For now, I’m giving it a helping hand because the seedlings seem to be quite susceptible to damping off (a common fungal disease, invariably fatal), so the more seeds, the better that chances in the long run. Collecting jewelweed seeds is fun in any event, because the ripe seed pods explode when touched. Aside from that, the only other annual seed I’m collecting is the castor bean (Ricinus communis) ‘New Zealand Purple’, the ‘Black Peony’ poppies and the ‘Chocolate Smoke’ Nicotiana.

In other harvests, I left a cabbage to grow for too long and it split. Oops. I think it’s still edible… The tomatoes are pretty much done, except for a few stragglers. The Jerusalem artichokes can wait a couple more weeks, as can the carrots, since I started those over a month late this year.

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