Jeanne Grunert is a freelance writer, blogger and book author from south central Virginia. Her books include "Plan and Build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden" and many others, available on Amazon and wherever fine books are sold. Learn more about Jeanne, her books and her garden at


Summer’s Bounty - and What to Do with It
by Jeanne Grunert - posted 08/05/16

I don't know about you, but my garden is overflowing with produce this year - and for that, I am grateful. Aside from the losses thanks to the crows, who seem to raid my garden daily, I have an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and carrots. Yes, I plan to can much of it. I'm making salsa tomorrow, canning tomato juice, and figuring out innovative ways to use those carrots.

But what if you have extra produce even beyond what you can can, dry, or refrigerate? Here are a few ideas to share your garden goodies this August:

  • Donate it: Some food pantries and shelters accept donations of fresh produce. Call ahead to find out when to drop off fresh vegetables, since they should be refrigerated as soon as possible. To find food pantries, call your local county services office, Meals on Wheels, or local churches.
  • Share it: Share the wealth! Do you have any elderly neighbors who might appreciate a few fresh tomatoes from the garden? Pack a basket full and carry it over in person. Make it a point to sit and chat for a while. It's a kindness that goes a long way.
  • Bake it: Bake excess goodies like zucchini and carrots into muffins, cakes, breads and other treats. Freeze them for gift-giving in the fall when summer is but a fond memory.
  • Throw a party: Yes, throw a big old summer fest right in your yard. Fire up the grill, serve some hamburgers or hot dogs, and make the biggest tomato and cucumber salad you've ever seen. Share the bounty by sharing the wealth with friends and family.

Canning fresh produce is a lot of fun, but so too is sharing it. If your garden overflows with abundance this summer, let your heart overflow with gratitude, and share the wealth. It's something gardeners are good at. After all, the garden is generous to us, and we in turn should be generous with its gifts.







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