10 Ways to Use Extra Veggies from Your Garden Without Wasting

There are many ways to use up extra vegetables from your garden.

From whipping up delicious batch after batch of tomato sauce with your extra mortgage lifters to adding oversized, oversized zucchini to the pigpen, there are all kinds of ways you can skip the extra.

However, if you’re tired of making canned goods (or maybe just ran out of jars!)

This is a situation in which I have found myself of late. My garden was (thankfully) extremely productive this year, especially my greenhouse, where I’ve been able to harvest over 100 pounds of tomatoes. every week from the end of August.

I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth – but I’ll admit, that gift horse is getting a little heavy! Because of this bountiful (excessively plentiful, it could be argued) harvest, I’ve found myself looking for ways to use up all that extra produce that doesn’t allow it to go to waste.

Here are some tips to help you know what to do with your crop this season.

10 ways to use up extra garden vegetables

Are you up to your ears in ears of corn? With a head of lettuce on top of your head? If so, these unique tips for getting rid of excess vegetables from your garden will help you make good use of your bounty.

1. Preserve it

10 Ways to Use Extra Veggies from Your Garden Without Wasting

The easiest way to let your excess produce go to waste without, of course, is to preserve it for later use.

Although it takes a lot of effort, preserving your garden’s harvest will make it easier for you to provide enough food for your family to last the year.

Almost every type of produce can be preserved in some way or the other. One exception is leafy greens – although spinach, kale and hardy greens can be frozen, canned or dehydrated in most cases, things like lettuce do not hold up well to long-term storage. Use those kinds of gifts ASAP.

For everything else, check out these quick guides to help you use your bounty:

2. Donate to a Food Pantry

I don’t know of a single food pantry that would turn down donations. Even better is food that is fresh and organically grown! Check with your local food store to see if they accept donations of fresh vegetables. Chances are, they do – but they may have some guidelines in terms of drop-off.

3. Try a Crop Swap Site

Crop swaps aren’t necessarily a new concept, but it’s worth considering if you’re looking to take off some of your extra produce. You can start crop swaps in person with friends and neighbors or turn to the Internet.

It sounds fancy, but the premise behind crop swaps is simple enough. Let’s say you have spare zucchini—you can swap those zucchini for tomatoes if your harvest wasn’t so impressive.

Take things a step further by using the Crop Swap website. By adding a listing on sites like CropMobuster and Rip Near Me, you can get rid of your excess produce while browsing products available for free or for sale in your neighborhood. These websites are not available in all regions, but if you are lucky enough to live in an area where they are, you will be able to connect with new people who may be interested in your product.

4. Sell It

10 Ways to Use Extra Veggies from Your Garden Without Wasting

If you already have a working farm, selling your excess produce shouldn’t be too challenging. After all, you already have a market established.

There are several ways to sell unwanted products, including:

  • at a farmer’s market
  • By using online marketing tools like Facebook and email marketing
  • at a roadside stand

Even if you don’t have an established farm brand, you can easily keep a box on the side of the road with your extra produce. Ask for a certain amount for your vegetables or work on a respect system. Either way, it’s a great way to get rid of all the produce you don’t want or need.

5. Post Advertisement Online

If you don’t know someone to deliver your garden vegetables, it can be difficult to find a place to unload them.

Enter – Internet.

Post the listing on a website like Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle or Craigslist. You may be able to sell your vegetables here, but if you can’t, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to have them for free.

6. Cook it and then donate it to the people around

Many times, people don’t want to take your unwanted garden vegetables off their hands, because they don’t have the time or skill to prepare them as food. It’s not that they don’t want food or they don’t need food – they’re not sure exactly what to do with it.

Yet many are still needed. Consider preparing a batch of Eggplant Parmesan for the elderly man down a few houses or next to the family raising a child. They will surely love the home cooked food made with desi vegetables.

7. Feed Your Livestock

10 Ways to Use Extra Veggies from Your Garden Without Wasting

If you have stuffed all the human mouths in your zip code, your next best option is to feed your excess produce to your livestock. It may not sound satisfying to see your organic, carefully weeded, and fertilized produce thrown into the boar, but at least it won’t go to waste.

8. Barter

Another option is to barter vegetables for services and goods. Have some brinjals but no protein? Maybe you can swap out your vegetables for a dozen eggs. Maybe you have all kinds of vegetables, but you’re going out of town for a week and need someone to water your garden—perfect! Bartering is the way to go.

9. Distribute to local public service agencies

Consider delivering a box of vegetables, raw or cooked, to a local public service agency. Some good examples include fire departments and hospitals. For example, firefighters need food cooked several times a day – they always need extra food!

If you want to play it safe, you can always call the firehouse ahead of time to find out what they need, but chances are they won’t care one way or another.

10. Compost IT

Last but not least, if you’ve exhausted all your other options or if the produce has gone a bit past its prime, you can always put your excess in the compost bin. Again, it’s not as satisfying as being able to use it, but it’s better than letting it rot on your counter or in your trash.

Plus, you’ll get all kinds of nutritious soil for your next growing season—and that’s a win in itself!

Next year, plan ahead!

10 Ways to Use Extra Veggies from Your Garden Without Wasting

You’ve been working hard all summer to grow a beautiful garden, but now that it’s fall and the leaves are changing color, you find yourself with an overabundance of produce. Sure, there’s always canning, but you can do so much with just one canister!

Instead, consider the ideas above so you can use up all the extra vegetables from your garden. Next year, plan for extras. Make a list of what your family eats in a year, and then increase the yield only by that much (and maybe a little extra amount, just in case). Don’t be tempted to grow every single type and variety of vegetables imaginable, especially if you find that your family only eats a select few.

With a little careful planning for the future and the ideas listed above, you should be able to harvest all of your produce in no time!

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