Coping With Abundance
by Elaine Christen
Every gardener wishes for the best , most prolific veggie harvest every year, but the old saying is true—be careful what you wish for.
You never know which planting will produce a bumper crop. Last year, it was tomatoes, something like 250 pounds of them, for us. This year, it was pumpkins and winter squash, while the tomato crop was pathetic! I know I’m not alone, but boy, was that disappointing!
When you do have a record-breaking harvest, what do you do with it all? Aside from the time honored practice of leaving bags of produce on your neighbor’s doorstep in the wee hours, here are some other ideas:
-Donation: Most food banks gladly accept fresh, in season produce. Just call first to be sure. Also check with soup kitchens, who are thrilled to get fresh ingredients.
-Preservation: And not just canning, either. I’ve always wanted to try canning, but still haven’t managed to find time, but I still preserved loads of tomatoes by simply washing, coring and freezing them in zip-close bags. A quick rinse under warm water while they’re still frozen , and the skin slips right off. Now they are ready for sauces, soups and stews, without that tinny taste from commercially canned tomatoes.
Other types of preservation include drying, curing and root cellaring. There is a wonderful organization called the National Center for Home Food Preservation which can answer pretty much any question on this subject.
Last winter we left our carrots, beets, and parsnips in the ground, covered with a heavy straw mulch. I was skeptical, but it worked beautifully. How nice to pull back the snow and straw and spade up perfect, crisp veggies in the middle of winter!
What are some of YOUR stories of abundance and how you coped with it? We’d love to hear them! Just comment below (please, don’t spam us) and we might post them on our Facebook page! And why stop there? We are on Twitter as well!
Until next time, happy gardening!