Sharing The Surplus Garden Harvest: What To Do With Extra Vegetables

Wooden Box Full Of Fruits And Vegetables
surplus veggies
(Image credit: coramueller)

The weather has been kind, and your vegetable garden is bursting at the seams with what appears to be a ton of produce to the point that you are shaking your head, wondering what to do with these surplus vegetable crops. Keep reading to learn more.

What to Do With Extra Vegetables

There are a number of things you can do with your over abundant vegetables.

Using and Storing the Surplus Garden Harvest

I am sort of a lazy gardener, and the question of what to do with extra vegetables brings up a good point. One of the simplest answers to deal with the surplus garden harvest is to pick them and eat them. Go beyond the salads and the stir fries. Surplus vegetable crops can add much needed fiber, vitamins and minerals to baked goods, and the kiddies will never know. Try a beetroot chocolate cake or brownies. Use carrots or parsnips to prepare cakes and scones. While easy enough to do, you may be sick of canning and freezing. One of the easiest preservation methods is to dry them and, yes, it is easier with expensive drying cabinets but you can do it yourself with a few window screens, a sunny corner and some cheesecloth. Or you or your tool-loving partner can make a drying cabinet in a couple of hours.

Donating Garden Vegetables

Local food banks (even the smallest of towns usually have one) typically accept donations. If you are able to give any of your surplus vegetable crops to your local food bank, be sure to inform them as to whether or not they are organic. If they are not and you use pesticides and herbicides, please made sure you use the directions to the letter, especially regarding how long to wait before harvesting. When you run out of ideas of what to do with that surplus garden harvest, and the food bank is overflowing with them, you can call your local Fire House and see if they would appreciate your donating garden vegetables. Likewise, a telephone call to a nearby nursing home may be just as ideal, as I am sure those housebound residents would love a few fresh-from-the-garden cucumbers or luscious vine ripened tomatoes. Another option is to set up your own FREE vegetable stand in your neighborhood.

Selling a Surplus Garden Harvest

Most communities have a local farmers market. Put your name down for a stand and carry those extra vegetable crops to the market for sale. Many people are tired of those tasteless vegetables that seem to inhabit local grocery stores and pine for fresh picked, organically grown, and not overpriced veggies wrapped in plastic. If you’re not really in it for the money, a wheelbarrow, table, or box with the words “Take what you need and pay what you can” will bring in enough donations to at least pay for next year’s seeds and even if you don’t raise more than a few cents, your surplus vegetable crops will magically disappear. I also have found that when people are asked to donate and have your trust, they do become more generous.