Save On Produce by Starting a Garden Exchange
Spending too much on produce? Or perhaps your garden yielded an overabundance of a particular fruit or vegetable and you are tired of eating tomatoes every night for dinner? Instead of leaving a bag of zucchini on the neighbor’s doorstep and running, get creative and start a garden exchange!
A garden exchange is something people have been doing for many years. You can plan a garden exchange before the first plant goes into the ground, or after you discover you have too much of a good thing coming in all at once.
“Hmmm sounds great” you may be thinking, but how does a garden exchange really work? Well it is actually very simple. Your first step is to find a number of like-minded people who would like to exchange their plethora of harvest. If your plants are already in the ground or the harvest is rolling in, you may better be able to judge just how many people you can reasonably exchange with. If you have not yet planted, select a few produce items that you are really great at growing or that you think you could grow well. The same for the other the like-minded gardeners you have found. The idea is diversification, so everyone isn’t exchanging tomatoes or peppers all at the same time.
If you have not already begun your garden, when you plant, plant a few extra plants for your exchange, more then what you would normally plant to sustain your family alone. Then when each member of the group has garden produce ready, you share your extras with each other. This way you only have to work at growing a few types of plants and you get to enjoy the bounty of a wide selection. You must agree in advance how the exchange will take place: pound-for-pound or each-for-each. That way, there are no hard feelings when you are exchanging 10 pounds of tomatoes for one watermelon.
If you are someone that lives in a big city or maybe on a small suburban lot, you may not have as much garden space available as those that are in more rural settings. However you can still start and participate in a garden exchange! Just think outside the box on growing your produce. Container gardening and balcony or patio gardening have proven fruitful when well taken care of! A few container, some soil, nutrients and the proper amount of sunshine and watering, and you can have a thriving garden anywhere.
Just remember the garden exchange only works out if everyone that is participating is growing something different. The more people you have join in your garden exchange, the greater the selection of healthy produce you will have to divide and enjoy. It is a win-win for everyone!
Have you ever participated in a garden exchange? What advice would you offer someone new to participating in a garden exchange?
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