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Basket containing various home-grown produce

Home-grown veg and lots of it!

It’s that inevitable time of year when the fruits of a grower’s labours start to show and boy, do they show!

Unfortunately, we’re all a bit too used to just popping to the shops once a week, picking up what we need and driving home.

Not many of us spare a thought about how our fruit and veg actually grows these days, and seasonality is an old-fashioned word when we can import from warmer climes all year round.

A punnet of tomatoes

Can you ever have too many tomatoes?

However, when we set our minds to growing our own, suddenly we are struck with a dawning reality. We really did plant too many runner beans and courgettes, and both are just too good at what they do, quite often providing us with more fruit in a couple of months than we would normally consider buying in a whole year.

So, what to do with all that abundant and lovingly grown produce?

Of course, there’s the usual preservation in some form or another: vinegar, brine, oil, freezing, jamming, chutney etc. for long-term storage, and then there’s cakes, pies, tarts, crumbles etc. for a slightly shorter-term solution, but before you reach your wits’ end and the 100th courgette recipe of the season, I personally think there’s nothing better than sharing some of that lovely veg with other people who will appreciate it.

A pie surrounded by courgettes

A worried looking pie...

Wherever you live, you will always find an appreciable recipient. Neighbours and friends can be a good place to start, but they may not possess the capacity for as much home-grown veg as you and can become quickly overwhelmed. Before you know it they will be watching out for your arrival, switching all the lights out and telling the kids to be quiet when they see you approaching.

In addition, if you’ve been growing stuff for a while and are quite good at it, you will inevitably end up being a bit of a role-model for friends and neighbours and once they start growing stuff too, they’ll have surplus of their own to shift. At this point, you just have to hope that you’ve grown enough different varieties to conduct a generous swap.

A collection of homegrown veg

Lots of veg to share!

Another way to move produce on came to mind this week while I was out and about at some of the local community shops in the surrounding villages. Any help you can give them, especially if it saves/makes them money, is appreciated, therefore it’s of little surprise to find that most of these shops gain a lot of support from their local gardeners at this time of year.

As well as the inevitable beans and courgettes, I have spotted garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes, broad beans, peas, beetroot, greengages and even crab apples, all donated by local growers. How fantastic is that?

There’s no doubt that people love home-grown veg, so don’t horde it and let it go to waste, share it around and spread your love of growing beyond your garden fence.

Got any other tips on how to share your surplus?
Leave a comment and let me know…

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