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Sharing The Harvest: Creative Ways To Be Generous With Your Garden's Bounty

colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables
Have extra fruits and veggies from your garden? We have ideas for how to share.

Sharing what you've grown in your garden feels good. And late summer means your garden abounds with actual, real live vegetables that you have grown! There are some great options for sharing the fruit (and veggies) of your labor beyond just dropping off your extra cucumbers onto a neighbor's porch. Food shelf

Check before you donate to your local food shelf and wait till the day of to pick the freshest veggies that you'll donate. The harvest needn't be a giant haul to make a difference, either. Even if you're sharing a tomato or two, some peppers and a cuke, that will go a long way.

Locally, the Vermont Foodbank is a great resource to find the closest food shelf. Just navigate to their website and type in your zip code. And if you're outside the state, try Ample Harvest. They also have great tips on how and what to grow for your food bank.


Gleaning involves being invited by a farmer to harvest and collect fruits and veggies left in the fields after a main harvest. There are several such gleaning programs in Vermont.

Vermont Law School has the National Gleaning Projectand there is the Vermont Gleaning Collective. You'll be able to help pick and collect what's left after the main harvest and get it to the folks who need it.

Veggie swap

Get socially distant with your neighbors and swap veggies! Or set up a roadside bin to let folks driving by in on the freshly-grown deliciousness.

Q: For the first time ever, my tomatoes on the vine are being hollowed out, right down to the skin. It looks fine from one side, but on the other side, the tomato looks like a ping pong ball that has been cut in half - no flesh in the tomato at all. This has happened to both ripe tomatoes and green tomatoes. It has also happened to a friend's tomatoes. — Barbara, in Springfield

This sounds like some critters having fun! Perhaps tomato hornworms or even voles, squirrels or mice, if the tomatoes are low-hanging and they can reach them. Next year, think about caging your tomato plants.

Q: This month my tomato plants have stopped producing. They have been flowering but then the flowers just brown as well as part of the stem and they just drop off without producing fruit. I thought it was heat/drought stress, so I was watering every day and now with the more frequent rain, the soil isn’t as dry. The blossoms are still dropping. Is there something I can do? — Melendy, in Shelburne

This could be causes by heat stress as tomato blossoms are sensitive to it and they might not have pollinated properly. You can go out and shake your plant (pretend you're a bumble bee) or you can spray it with a natural hormone called Blossom Set. Try this on small cherry tomatoes. As for the full-size varieties, you might just have to wait till next year.

A thin grey line.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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