spent plants - Knowledgebase Question

canton, Mi
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Question by debra56
August 20, 2009
When the vegetables are done producing should I work the remainder of the plant into the soil as compost for next year or throw it out? My garden is about 12x12. I plant it every year and wondered if it is best to not plant every year but let the soil rest?

Answer from NGA
August 20, 2009
Just to be on the safe side, I would pull the plants and dispose of them. Although they are potential compost, they might also have insect eggs or disease pathogens. You wouldn't want to introduce them into your garden or give them a nice warm bed in which to spend the winter so they can pounce on your new vegetable plants next spring. You can plant in the same garden bed every year. Since some plants deplete the soil (and some enrich the soil) you can build up the soil by spreading 3-4 inches of compost or aged manure over the top of the bed this fall. The organic matter will help suppress winter weeds. In the spring you can dig the organic matter into the soil to help enrich it. Be sure to rotate your veggie crops to different areas of the garden bed each year. Enjoy your harvest!

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