I can’t tell you how many times I have heard gardeners complain that they have ‘too many courgettes’ to get through. Or that they have too much lettuce…
But as permaculture gardeners and growers know, excess abundance should not be viewed as a negative. Successional sowing and careful planning can help to spread out harvests and make it easier to manage the harvests over time. But there will often inevitably still be times when you get a glut.
A glut can be viewed as a problem. But it is a good idea to change your mindset and instead to see it as an opportunity. There are often more ways to use up an excess of fresh produce than you might think.
For example, you could make ‘courgetti’ (courgette spaghetti) or ‘doodles’ (zucchini noodles). You could make courgette bread, or use your courgettes stuffed with a range of other fresh, delicious ingredients. Of course, you could also preserve your courgettes in a range of different ways… courgette relish, or courgette chutney, for example.
Lettuce is also often wasted because people do not realise that it can be used in other ways – not just in a salad. For example, why not use some to bulk out a herb pesto. You can also use lettuce to make a soup.
In permaculture, we also often talk about returning surplus to the system. Often, of course, that means returning nutrients to the garden ecosystem through composting etc… But this is not the only thing that can ‘return surplus to the system’. The system referred to might also be the wider societal system in which we live. So we can also think about returning the surplus from our gardens into our communities.
Of course, we can share our excess produce. We could consider giving some courgettes, lettuce or fruits that are additional to our requirements to our neighbours, or to others in the broader community. When you live in a permaculture way – waste will be a thing of the past.