Soil Improvement and/or preparation

Excess Vegetables and Fruit – Your Garden’s Buried Treasure

In spite of any attempt to grow only the amount I think I will need of any particularly vegetable or fruit, nature has as way of providing more than planned for at times. Sometimes summer squash, tomatoes and cucumbers can be perfect examples.  I never consider this a problem.  As a matter of fact — I get down right excited about it!  You know why?  Because its my garden’s buried treasure ——–treasure that I bury for the sake of my garden.

I “dig in” or bury all the excess produce I get.   After it decays in the soil (which is quickly in the summer) the organic matter that results is a storehouse of essential plant nutrients for my future crops!  That’s reason enough to bury all my excess, but there is another benefit as well.

Fruits and vegetables (and all organic material) once decayed improve the soils structure, its drainage, and at the same time helps it to hold water that your plants can use. Wow!

Almost every gardener who is aware of the importance of organic matter will say they never have enough organic material to go around. (Organic material decays to make organic matter.) It’s always better to have more than your immediate need because you never know when you will need reserves in the soil. To have a great garden you need more organic matter in the soil rather than less.

So when you have excess — get excited.  It’s natures way of helping you plan for your future.


Related post:

Excess from Your Garden


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  • Thank you for your blog Theresa, very much appreciate your insights. You are a wealth of knowledge. I like your suggestion to turn extra produce in. Sounds silly but I didn’t think of it. Question, do you turn in leaves / stems too? or just the produce? I’m guessing leaves / stems would take longer to decompose.

  • Hi Rebecca,
    I’m so glad you find TMG helpful.

    I don’t turn in leaves/stems. Just leave them on top to decay. Soil life will eventually pull them down into the soil

    If I have enough thickness of straw on the beds, sometimes I just put the excess veggies under the straw. I usually make a few chops with the shovel into the veggies just to start the decay process more quickly, and then tuck them under the straw.

    If not, I just dig a hole that will accommodate what I want to return to the soil, put in the veggies, and cover.

    Thanks for taking time to let me know that you benefit from my writings. It means a lot to me.

  • Theresa

    I do so agree with you on someone appreciating a gift of produce. Liz always talks to them quite deeply on what they like and will use. She goes down the street with her little red wagon filled with produce. Some say they have a tomato plant or whatever or don’t eat a particular vegetable. You have to be especially careful when giving out zucchini. We have about 4 neighbors who just love it and ask for more. We never charge for it and the whole neighborhood seems to be much more friendly. years ago I was looking for a bushel of tomatoes to can and I did not have that many. I went to a farm and they had an excess, but refused to sell me a bushel and said they would turn them under first. I was very disappointed and I would definitely want and use them, plus they missed out on a sale. We gave one elderly lady zucchini as we walked by her house on our walk. We stopped there many times with more. One day as we walked by her house she came out and gave us a loaf of zucchini bread. It gave me such a good feeling when I knew that someone was using and enjoying what I gave them. One lady cried and said her son has a garden, but never gives her any tomatoes and that she loves them. I have make it a point to make sure she has all she can use. I never over give as the excess can go to waste. Rather will stop several times and give more if they used it. I live in the city and have many neighbors within 1/4 mile with sidewalks that I can easily pull a wagon filled with produce. My wife asked a woman who just moved in and she had a very suspicious look on her face as she thought my wife was selling. When my wife told her they were free, she cried out “We have neighbors”


  • Great stories Don.
    Sounds like you and Liz are a blessing to the folks who really appreciate what you offer!

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