You can put your veggies to good use even if your garden is too bountiful

2013-03-17T00:00:00Z You can put your veggies to good use even if your garden is too bountifulElena Acoba Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

If you still have a bountiful harvest from your winter garden, don't fret. It doesn't have to go to waste.

Here are some ideas about what to do with surplus garden veggies after you've eaten your fill, you've preserved enough and your friends don't want any.

SELL

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona allows home gardeners to sell their Arizona-grown produce on consignment. The Food Bank sets out consigned goods at the Marana Farm Stand on Mondays, its own market on Tuesdays and the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market on Thursdays.

After filling out a form, growers can drop off their produce at these places, said consignment coordinator Audra Christophel. Goods are sold by the pound, and the food bank takes 10 percent.

"They can bring anything that they're growing," Christophel said. "We strongly suggest that people aren't using any pesticides and chemicals" to grow their vegetables.

Anything unsold after a few markets goes into emergency food boxes.

For more information, call Christophel at 622-0525, Ext. 262.

FEED THE HUNGRY

The Food Bank also accepts donations of fresh produce. Bring your contribution to its main center, 3003 S. Country Club Road, or its branches in Nogales, Amado, Green Valley and Marana. For details, call 622-0525.

The Iskashitaa Refugee Network takes produce donations at its office, 1406 E. Grant Road, to distribute to refugee families or use in its cooking classes. To arrange a drop-off, call 440-0100.

The network also sends out volunteers to harvest, or glean, your citrus; the food bank canceled its gleaning program this winter. The network gleans other home garden veggies, too.

Guinea pigs, chickens and other herbivores housed at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona can benefit from your garden surplus.

"We will accept any donations," said organization spokeswoman Samantha Esquivel. "We always have pocket pets here."

Bring donations to its facility, 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. Call 327-6088 for more information.

FEED THE SOIL

If you don't maintain a compost pile of your own, you can send your leftover vegetation to one.

Community Gardens of Tucson will accept whatever is left in your garden for compost piles at most of its 45 locations.

"We have composting at almost every site we have," said Darlene Schacht, a board member of the organization.

The group will accept fruits and vegetables that have not been sprayed with chemical insecticide or pesticide. Schacht suggests chopping the vegetation into 4-inch pieces for quicker decomposition.

Call 795-8823 to make arrangements to drop off your donation at a community garden.

If all else fails, just till your chopped-up vegetables back into your own garden soil.

"You add organic matter to the soil ... and give nutrients to new plants," said master gardener Ted Jensen.

Contact Tucson freelance writer Elena Acoba at acoba@daktacom.net

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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