If you’re like me, your vegetable garden is probably going crazy right now and, you may be wondering what to do with the excess produce. I personally always end up with far too many zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I never plan on having quite as many as I end up with, but one day toward the end of the summer I head out to the garden and am overwhelmed by the amount of produce I need to use up.

So, what do you do when your family absolutely will not eat one more zucchini and you’ve run out of creative ways to use up cherry tomatoes? There are several different ways that you can get rid of excess garden produce without tossing it in the trash.

Ask your friends and neighbors if they need any of what you have. It turns out that while I had far more zucchini than I needed, my neighbor had an excess of spaghetti squash. It was a great trade and we both got something that we needed out of the deal. Of course, if you both have too much zucchini then this method probably won’t work for you.

Preserve it for wintertime when your garden is no longer producing. We went strawberry picking last year and ended up with far too many strawberries to use. I got tired of shortcake and pie so I ended up freezing them. When December rolled around and there were no more fresh strawberries, I was very happy to take some out of the freezer and make a pie.

Donate some to your local food shelf. Our food shelf accepts excess garden product from area residents. Then, they make it available for free to people in the area that are low income who want it. Not everyone has the room or the ability to grow a garden. And, it feels really good to be able to share with people who need help.

If you have quite a bit of leftover garden produce, consider setting up a table at a local farmer’s market. We have farmer’s markets where you can sell bread, jam, pickles, fresh vegetables, and handcrafted items. See if there are a few people in your neighborhood who might want to pool their produce and earn a little bit of extra money.

If you don’t have a neighbor who has extra garden produce to trade for yours, consider trading something else. Do they have too many eggs from their chickens? or woodchips from a tree they cut down? Or maybe they can watch the kids for a few hours a week while you get a break. You never know until you ask them.

What do you do with your garden produce?