Here are ways you can use up many excess vegetables at once if you should find yourself fortunate enough to have a surplus of carrots, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, zucchinis, eggplant and the like:
Make a frittata.
Make a salad.
Make a stir-fry.
Make a soup or a stew.
Give them to your son but only if he swears to use them.
Freezing and canning, too, of course. (Not that I’ve ever canned anything.)
Some veggies can be pickled.
According to my husband, everything can be fermented. (Which explains the gallon jars of kale stems taking up space in my fridge.)
Food for People cannot accept your extra veggies since their storage building caught on fire.
You could also just lie on the ground in your garden, lifting your head only to take another sip of your Manhattan, a martini glass lending well to horizontal drinking, and watch the kale plants bolt, observe the green beans gather enough weight to collapse their trellis, notice the strawberries growing mold as the runners escape the raised bed and plant themselves in the sand next to your drink-clutching hand.
You could decide to say it’s all too much, this bounty, report that the return on investment has exceeded expectations and that if anyone needs you, you’ll be lying on the dirt between the endive and the snap peas, responsibility abdicated, guilt soothed by a combination of sweet vermouth, rye whiskey and bitters, three consumable items that last longer than the broccoli or at least they would if you weren’t combining and consuming them on a nightly basis.
Dust poofs and settles on your clothes as you settle into this new way of being, this embrace of giving up. Unlike the soil your plants spring from with such strength, the dirt between the raised beds lacks moisture, remains unenriched by either compost or love. It exists only as a pathway – except now it is a bed, you think, because you are lying on it. You laugh and tilt both your head and your glass until they meet in holy union. You feel a drowned bug on your tongue and drink more to wash it down, the heat of the rye, the sweet of the vermouth perfectly balanced. That splash of bitters underscoring everything.
You have too many plants, you told your husband it would be too much, but he filled the garden like he fills spaces, which is to say too full. You lose your mind from the clutter. You can’t think, you can’t distinguish what needs to be taken care of from what is simply in the way. Joy existed in the garden at first, you and he both thrilled to see the tiny starts find their footing and grow. They embodied the very dreams you’d had for them. You took care of them, nurtured them, grateful for the sustenance they provided.
The sky fades from light blue to yellow overhead. The shadow from the forest of snap peas shifts across your face. Warmth wanes and the suggestion of fall comes in on the breeze. A hummingbird zips in for a last sip from the flowers waving over the bolted broccoli. Seems late for you, little guy, you think.
You know you should get up, harvest the broccoli heads still hanging on, gather the peas and beans, slide the ripened blackberries off their vines, surely catching your clothes and fingers on the thorns in the process.
You should do all this and go inside, google “how to can” and “is it okay to freeze onions” since you can see the tops of the onions bursting through the soil underneath the mustard greens because you are now standing because even though life has given you too much of what you asked for and even though what is a blessing in this case is also a burden, it is a blessing and was created in love and even though you’d like to find a blanket and drink till you pass out in this garden, you will instead find a bowl and a bucket or three and get to work taking care of what you’ve created.