Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
September, 2000
Regional Report

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Share the abundant harvest of your garden with those less fortunate.

Sharing the Garden

Now is a time of abundance in our vegetable gardens. And what better way to use that extra produce than to share it? Frankly, it feels great to offer produce to someone who doesn't often have a chance to get fresh vegetables and fruits.

Plant a Row

The Garden Writers Association of America sponsors a nationwide campaign called Plant a Row for the Hungry to encourage gardeners to plant more than they need and share the harvest with local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food banks. It's easy to take part in this program, but always contact the receiving local organization beforehand to get a list of what they need, and when and how they'd like it delivered.

Choose the Best Veggies

When I donate vegetables, I'm careful to send anything past its prime to my compost pile. If I wouldn't eat it, I'm sure no one else will want to either. Overgrown zucchini or too-soft tomatoes aren't appetizing, and, although they could be used in soups, the organization I take them to might not be able to use them or give them away quickly.

Produce Prep

I try to take the time to wash and trim my produce before donating it. This takes only a little time when giving away small amounts and is a great time relief for those responsible for distributing it. Also, the produce is so much more appreciated if it looks clean and fresh. And, since I grow lots of herbs, I try to tuck in an appropriate bunch of basil with tomatoes or tarragon with eggplants.

It takes a little extra planning to harvest on time and get the extra produce to the proper organizations, but it's an incredible feeling to share my garden with those who might not have access to such fresh vegetables.

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