Greetings from the HillTop!
Are you gardening this year? The benefits of gardening outweigh any aversion to not having a garden. There has been a local food movement over the past decade and the pandemic kept moving it forward. People were home and bored, looking for things to do. To pass the time, people started gardening. It also helped ease some supply chain food concerns.
With rising food costs, and inflation on a hold, home gardens are hanging around still. Food inflation alone, (to date for May 2022) is just over 10%. It seems each trip to the store prices just keep rising. Home gardens are a wonderful, low cost way to combat the continuing rise.
Although, having garden always means there is at least one bumper crop. There is always a vegetable that produces way more than you expected. The question is, what can you do with the extras you cannot keep up with? Here are a few suggestions:
Don’t know your neighbor? No better way to start that relationship than providing them with a little bundle of gardening goodness. We did this for years. We met our neighbors when they first moved in and started regularly giving them our garden surplus. They are in a shaded area of the woods, so gardening space was limited for them. We still provide them fresh produce. It was a great way to provide fresh food to your neighbors, but also ensure your abundance was not wasted.
Although, what to do if your neighbors do not want any of your extras? Or if they have their own gardens?
Sell Your Extras
Who doesn’t want to recoup a little bit of the cost put into gardening? Right now, the idea of buying from a neighbor or a small supplier appeals to many people who are vested in the local food movement. It benefits the buyer by getting locally grown, fresh food, while reducing your food miles at the same time. Currently, food costs are so high, people are shopping for a great deal!
If you only grow for fresh eating, you may want to consider preserving your extras. Pinterest can help you with this. Whether canning, freezing or dehydrating, “putting up” food for later use is a great option. It is a cost savings for you, plus you are still enjoying the fruits of your labor throughout the year.
Did you know you can donate fresh food to local food cupboards? There are some camps and schools as well. Inflation is not only affecting the home budget. My kids and I had the privilege to volunteer at our local food cupboard for June’s distribution. The director expressed how they are paying the same or more each month to stock shelves and barely getting the necessary food. Consider your local food cupboard as an option for your garden extras. Your hard work can be a blessing for more than just your household.
Do not become overwhelmed by the abundance of your garden! See it as a blessing. Use it as a way to grow your relationships with those around you, remember to “put up” some for the future, and support your local community. Make a goal to utilize one of these outlets for all your garden extras.
Do you have a creative way to utilize your garden extras? Please let us know in the comments below!