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It seems odd that a garden wouldn’t, in essence, be vegan from the start but that’s just not how the gardening world operates at this moment. There is so much reliance on animal products for fertilizers, chemicals to rid the garden of pests and rodents, and other very non-vegan practices. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Starting a vegan garden isn’t difficult, but like with all things vegan, it just means we need to pay extra attention to the details.
A veganic garden (vegan + organic = veganic) follows organic principles while also taking into consideration non-human animals while designing the space.
How To Start A Veganic Garden
1. Choose Good Quality Seeds
There are tons of seed companies out there and which one you choose does make a difference. Many seeds are produced by large companies who use genetic engineering, unsustainable practices and take the rights of seed ownership out of the hands of home gardeners. Look for small, sustainable, seed companies who offer organic, heirloom, open-pollinated, seeds which are the best for the environment. This Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden is a good place to start.
2. Prepare the Space with Critters in Mind
The best way to deal with rodents and pests who want to enjoy your garden is to prepare in advance for them. After all, planting a garden is basically like opening a buffet for the local wildlife population in their own backyard. Think about the garden space. Are there bunnies around? Squirrels, groundhogs, mice, deer? They will all help themselves if they can. There are a number of methods you can utilize to ward them off without harming them. The first, and most obvious, is to build a good fence around the garden. Make it tall enough that deer can’t jump over. And, bury it in the ground 10” too so the burrowing animals can’t get in either. Netting can be placed over any vegetables or trees that the birds are going after. This won’t keep all the critters out but it will be a good start. In conjunction with the fence, plant a deterrent garden 20-30 feet away from your real garden. Don’t put any fences around it and plant some tasty vegetables that will appeal to the critters in your area. They will naturally navigate to an easily accessible space as opposed to trying to get into your real, fortified garden.
If there are still critters getting in, first off, figure out which ones so you can address them specifically. Consider installing an electric fence. It may be that you have to expect some loss to critters and work it into your overall gardening plan. Growing inside an enclosed space like a fenced-in garden or a greenhouse can help deter critters from eating your crops. The best way to deal with rodents and pests who want to enjoy your garden is to prepare in advance for them. After all, planting a garden is basically like opening a buffet for the local wildlife population in their own backyard.
3. Vegan Fertilizers
Checkout Veganic Fertilizers no animal by-products and get massive yields!
Of course, you want to use non-animal-based fertilizers. This can be tricky since so many are animal-based. Blood meal, feather meal, bone meal, and fish emulsions are prominent in the gardening world. Almost all commercial soils contain manure, which is iffy on the vegan scale, but really should be avoided. Most manure comes from confined animals in the dairy and meat industries and even though manure is a side-product of the industry, it still benefits and supports those companies to buy it. Also, it is likely to contain livestock-grade hormones and antibiotics from those animals.
There are a lot of options for vegan fertilizers. The number one choice is compost that you have created. That way, you know exactly what is in it. Even better, if you have a compost pile, that’s free nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. Nettle and comfrey compost teas are also amazing for the garden and are completely plant-based. Look online for recipes to make your own or it can be bought commercially.
There are a number of veganic fertilizers available commercially. Look for ones that specifically say they are organic because non-organic sources of some of the ingredients could be genetically modified or treated with chemicals. Cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, flax-seed, and soy meal are all great fertilizer ingredients. Seaweed and kelp fertilizers are also amazing and offer important nutrients to the garden.
There are options for non-animal based fertilizers and they are becoming more popular every year. It may take a little searching but don’t despair, it will be worth it.
4. No-till Method for the Win
Tilling and gardening have been going hand in hand for so long it sounds crazy not to do it. However, when you really look at what tilling is doing to the soil and creatures living in it, you’ll see it’s a no-brainer to throw all thoughts of tiling out the window.
The main reason for tilling is to break up the ground to make planting easier. There is no other benefit except to make life easier. What tilling actually does is break up weeds and distribute them widely throughout your garden, kill earthworms and other beneficial insects, and move all the good nutrients in the soil to the surface where the sun will expunge them. Not good!
Instead of tilling, remove weeds and other impediments to growing by hand. Build borders around the garden with bricks or stones so weeds can’t come back easily. When it’s time to plant, dig a small hole for each plant or seed. This may take a little more time to do than if you had tilled but the garden will be so much healthier for it and the earthworms will thank you. Earthworms are a gardens best friend and should be catered to in all ways. They till the soil naturally with their tunneling.
Veganic gardening takes a little bit more consideration than traditional gardening but it isn’t difficult. We are stewards of this planet and using veganic gardening methods is the best choice for the health of the earth and all the animals, human and non-human.
Checkout some veganic products we selected.