We have a tiny backyard and we live in townhomes. Our HOA had new roofs put on and got a new paint job in recent times, so I kept my edibles alive but didn't plant anything new during all the construction and painting. I had excess of some things and thought it would be fun to trade with some friends. Not expecting much, I put it on facebook and I emailed our playgroup. Turned out to be such a fun adventure!!!
I grew lemon verbena, bay, and a mystery herb (lol) along with a volunteer tomato plant. (We also grew other things, but these were what we had to share.)
Friend 1 (next-door neighbor) gave me small amounts of lavender, rosemary, sage, and lemon thyme. (She had just started them earlier this summer and I didn't want to strip them!!!) She always shares her "bitter" oranges and Meyer lemons. We use the oranges for marinades, especially beef! I use lemon in my water (+other things) and, in the winter, I put whole lemons (cut in half, but not peeled or seeded) into my chicken bone broth. So nice to have easy access to pesticide-free yummy lemons!!!
Friend 2 gave me a handful of rosemary and a few pieces of lavender and lots of rose petals!
Friend 3 handed me the most lovely arrangement in a small wood crate lined with a pretty floral paper napkin containing a few oranges, two lemons, four tiny delicious strawberries, a posy of rosemary, and a handful of pretty lavender. She wasn't sure what I wanted the rose petals for and felt hers weren't pretty enough. HA! When I told her what I was planning (rose-infused honey, rose-infused oil, rosewater), her DD took a paper bag and started plucking petal after petal. So sweet!
Friend 4 wasn't expecting me (spur-of-the-moment stop, but we had been discussing it via email), so we went into her garden together. I ended up with a little tarragon, some tiny tomatoes, one tiny cucumber, and a few springs of rosemary. She also dug up a cucumber plant, yellow squash plant, and gave me a little sweet pea plant she never planted!!! She said she was going to dig these up anyway. I had purchased some seeds and she had a ton of older seeds. We swapped those, too. I have a dozen little homemade paper packets with the names written on them to look up when/where/how to plant them. ;) Most are for the next planting season here, not now.
Friend 5 (next door neighbor on the other side) gave us 6 ranch fresh eggs and 1 huge yellow squash and 1 huge zucchini!
All of our excess herbs and tomatoes are gone for now and it really was a lot of fun! I didn't do any extra driving, but I did go pick up the middle three trades. (I was already in those areas for other reasons.) I had a few gently used paper bags from our CSA to use for all the little things and just carried the bigger items or put them in a reusable bag.
Great zero-waste veggie/herb/flower plan by happy accident! I'm thinking this could be a great idea on a slightly more organized and larger scale, too. Still working out the logistics and would love to hear any ideas you might have... :)
Great idea! Sounds like you made some really nice trades:) My neighborhood has a Freecycle group devoted to this type of stuff, where you can post whatever you want to swap or give away on the site. I like your idea of trading amongst friends even better. Maybe at the next playgroup, you can set up a drop-off site for the gardening swap, too, to save on driving around to each friend's house.
Where are you located? I am curious about the oranges. Here in Northern California, they are still so small and green (at least in my backyard).
I share with my neighbors, friends, but it is really depending on what we have, there is no swap.
I have tons of rosemary (4 feet high, 30-40 feet long). 99% of it goes into the compost when we trim it. :(
People bring their excess to the gym I go to. Last week, I brought home a few plums. They were amazing, the best plums ever! The kids were closing their eyes in delight while eating them, wondering why the ones from the farmers' market don't taste the same... Next time we trim our rosemary I'll remember to bring the excess. :)
I am in San Diego, Natalie. Local oranges from friends and our CSA get rather large! Some taste better than others. Some look better than others. Some zest better than others. Some juice better than others. I never really knew there was so much variety in oranges until a few years ago!!!
My favorites are the blood oranges from our CSA. Never even heard of those until a year or so ago. SOOO TASTY!!!!!!! They are awesome in smoothies, too, because they give an awesome citrus flavor while giving a red color, which helps hide the greens. (My family knows about the greens, but we prefer to not SEE the green... LOL)