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Harvest For the Hungry
by Shannon Dwyer

Turn your mini harvest into a mega harvest and give the surplus to the hungry. It's not too late to join the Plant A Row for the Hungry campaign, according to the Garden Writers Association of America. With a little patience you can double what you take from your garden now, and later this season, and have plenty to give to a local food bank.

Plant A Row for the Hungry is a national people-helping-people project launched this spring by GWAA. Its aim is to enlist the nation's 78 million gardeners in helping to feed the hungry by donating fresh produce to area food banks.

Here's what you can do right now to increase your harvest and have surplus to give.

Wait - and harvest more. Let your crops go - and grow! Pick four-inch bean babies for your own table, and let a give-away portion of the crop mature to seven and eight inches. Too many tomatoes is what happens when you let the plants sucker; they'll slow the crop a bit but yield lots later. You'll have loads of extra cucumbers, zucchini and squash if you allow the plants to mature to 10-inch vegetables instead of harvesting four and five inchers. Ditto the root vegetables, and much else. Don't allow fruit to rot on the ground - bag it and take it where it will do some good!

To sustain the extra growth, scratch a little compost, or fertilizer, into the soil beside the plants designated for in- creased yields and PAR giving.

To have produce to give later, start seeds of the cool-weather vegetables now. Some of those have time to mature here - the lettuces including mache, arugula, and mescun mixes; radishes, as well as carrots, parsnips, turnips and the cabbage group including kale and broccoli.

A few apples or oranges,, a sack of tomatoes or a handful of cucumbers may not seem like much, but when the gardeners in a community get going, they can deliver big time! In a single month in San Jose, Texas, the donations of gardeners responding to Plant a Row appeals amounted to 6,500 pounds of citrus fruits!

Who needs the little, or lot you've got to give? Here's a list of local centers that provide food to the hungry in our area:

Oregon Food Bank - 503-282 0555

Neighborhood House - 503-246 1663: W & Th 1-4pm

Life Center - 284 6878: 9-11am, 1-3pm

St Vincent de Paul - 503-235 8431, 503-282 6405: M-F 10-12 & 1-4

Salvation Army - 503-239 1226: M-F 9-11 & 1-3

SNOW-CAP - 503-674 878: M-F 10-2 & 6-8; and 503-667 4300: M-F 10-1.30.

We Care - 503-287 5796: M: 10-12

William Temple House - 503-226 3021: M-F 10-4, M 5-8pm

For more information of how to begin PAR, call Shannon Dwyer, 503-658-8231

Garden Writers Association of America
10210 Leatherleaf Court, Manassas VA 22111; Tel 703 257 0213