CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Consider Grow and Give this Year!

Alright, everyone, I have a gardening confession to make. I’m over vegetables. Well, maybe not over them. But at least tired of growing them. The watering, the fertilizing, the hailstorm perfectly timed for ruination. Fighting verminous squirrels and hungry insects…and the watering! Yes, it’s true that like so many others, I got my start gardening with vegetables. I still grow them, but my heart is with my prized xeric posies, eagerly ordered, collected, and gathered with great effort and expense, and propagated with nail-biting and sometimes limited success. 

 Tomatoes difficult? As if.
Penstemon, Dianthus, and other rock garden plants
Things I'd rather be growing...

And yet, my vegetable garden persists, if unenthusiastically. One possible reason is the feeling of self-sufficiency and satisfaction one has when eating vegetables produced steps from the back door. Add food preservation into the mix and one could almost pretend not to need “the grid” at all. Certainly, bare grocery store shelves at this time last year led to many people stepping up or starting up vegetable gardening efforts. CSU Extension was among organizations who did the same—launching Grow and Give, the Modern Victory Garden Project, about a year ago, in order to help fight food insecurity during the pandemic. 

 In the combination of inspiration and boredom familiar to many of us at this point in history, I decided to register my garden with Grow and Give and dug my shovel into the vegetable patch with new verve. I am very glad I did. My vegetable harvest and subsequent donations were modest. My harvest in charity, community, and purpose was more than I imagined. Most food pantries in my area weren’t taking fresh produce, so I donated mostly to neighbors. Our conversations about the neighborhood, cooking, weather, and of course, vegetables, were cherished moments of sanity and connection. My few visits to the food pantry were appreciated and fulfilling.
A large squash surrounding a kitchen knife.
Tromba squash--these are fun to donate!

Grow and Give continues this year with new resources and a streamlined online presence. I am redoubling my efforts—filling seed trays with starts of varieties with high production and good storage potential, perfect for donations. Perhaps you, like me, left the vegetable garden behind for other gardening challenges at some point. I encourage you to revisit the veggie garden for bounty beyond merely the food you produce.

 Learn More and Register your garden at

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