Make The Most From Your Vegetable Garden
All your hard work has paid off, and now you are presented with a dilemma, too many vegetables! After sharing your wealth with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and anyone that happens to come to visit, there are alternative options of what you can do with your extensive supply of tomatoes, zucchini and other bountiful crops that will bring great joy to the community around you.
There are many different ways to approach this, the easiest would be to look up in your local phone book for organizations that you could donate your vegetables to. A good place to start would be food banks, women's shelters and half-way houses. Don't be discouraged if at first you are turned down, some community resources have to follow guidelines that will not allow them to accept fresh fruit or vegetables. You can also look up on the internet for locations near you that would find great joy in being the recipient of your sharing.
Another great idea is to do a "vegetable exchange" with other gardeners, you neighbor could have a bumper crop of beans or corn and not a great harvest on tomatoes, exchanging them will give you the best of both vegetables! The only thing of caution here is that it's a good idea to exchange with people that have the same basic gardening ethics, if you grow organic vegetables then you may not want to exchange with someone else that prefers to use chemicals or pesticides in their garden.
Preserving your vegetables for the rest of the year is also a great option. There are many sources online that can walk you through step by step on how to preserve your vegetables, either by canning, freezing or making something more specific like salsa sauce with your tomatoes. You can use the same approach to this as the idea above as well, have a variety of vegetables gathered from people around you and have a harvesting party. Get each person to bring enough of something from their vegetable garden that each person that attends will have an item to go home with. (For example if you have zucchini, another has tomatoes, and yet another has beans, you would walk away with at least two other types of vegetables)
The first hint that you need to find alternative options is to realize that when your friends, family, and neighbors start running in the other direction and turning off all the lights and pretending they are not home when they see you walking towards them with more of your delicious vegetables, that there are alternatives that will not only help others in your community but make all your hard work in your vegetable garden go a little bit further in spreading the joy to others.
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