Category: Fantastic Food Written by Theodora Evans
If you’re a vegan who is not sure what to buy at a store or farmers’ market, you might be considering the DIY approach to growing food. Starting a vegan garden might seem like a challenge, but if you do your research and put some effort into it, you’ll see just how easy it can be. And even if you are not vegan, having an organic garden of your own brings an abundance of benefits to you, your family and others.
Having organic food at home is always a great plus, since you are saving so much money, resources and you are helping the planet. So, to start your own organic garden, here is what you should know, and how you can easily do it.
Decide on what you will grow
For starters, you should decide what you want to grow in your garden. While it might be tempting to grow all sorts of fruits and veggies, you should begin with just a few varieties. Those that you love to eat the most should find their place on this list and then you can also add some protein sources. For instance, legumes, soybeans, and sunflower seeds are just some options that can succeed in your garden. By starting small, you will get a feel for how everything works and you can slowly expand once you learn more about what else can thrive in your climate.
Find the right location
In order for your garden to be successful, you need to find the right place for it. Of course, having a spacious yard provides you with more alternatives than living in a small apartment, but even in the latter scenario, you are not left without any options. So, do some research on the plants you plan on growing and see whether they need full sun or some shade to thrive. If you cannot provide them with the right conditions, consider looking for other varieties that will be able to succeed in your environment. What is more, you can always try vertical gardening if you are short on space and only intend on growing food for yourself.
Check your soil
Soil plays a big role in your garden’s success. Therefore, you want to ensure the soil is healthy and full of the nutrients your plants need. You can do that by having it tested, either by purchasing a home kit or taking a sample to the local nursery. The results will show you if there is anything missing, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, as well as the pH levels of the soil. If you’ve done your research on the plants you intend on growing, you will know what type of soil they need and be able to provide those with the optimal conditions.
Look for vegan fertilizers
If it turns out that the soil in your garden is less than optimal, you can look for ways to improve it. There are many fertilizers available on the market but finding a vegan-friendly one might be a bit more difficult. While they might be organic, they could also be using animal blood, bone, and various byproducts. Therefore, unless the packaging emphasizes that the fertilizer is vegan, it’s best to avoid it. Instead, you can look for an alfalfa meal, a plant-derived fertilizer that is full of nitrogen and is a great substitute for a blood meal. Moreover, you can also try green manure, i.e. using fast-growing plants like clover and cowpea as mulch.
Start your own compost
Something else you can do if you can’t find vegan fertilizer in your area is to make your own compost. Even if you are a complete beginner, starting a compost bin will not be too difficult. The first thing you should learn about is what you can put into your bin. For instance, to add carbon to your compost, you want to add dry leaves and grass, plant stems, cooled wood ash, and pine needles in small amounts. Then, you also need some nitrogen so include fresh grass clippings, flowers, veggie and fruit peelings, and coffee grounds. Avoid diseased plants and paper scraps unless they are free of harmful chemicals. Doing your research will help you know when the compost is ready and when to use it.
Try companion planting
An easy approach you can try out to maximize your garden’s potential is companion planting. Seeing as how many plants have a mutually beneficial relationship, this practice allows you to grow complementary varieties side by side and use the power of nature to provide them with nutrients, keep pests away, and improve pollination. Examples of what you can grow together include spinach and corn, carrots and lettuce, onions and tomatoes, strawberry and spinach, among many other options at your disposal.
Embrace pests and encourage local wildlife
Finally, as a vegan gardener, you surely understand that this planet belongs to pests as well. While you don’t want to use chemical pesticides, there are certain practices that you can use to keep pests away from your crops. In addition to companion planting, you can also plant some extra crops that you can sacrifice to pests and save your most prized plants. Furthermore, you want to create a safe space for the local wildlife so consider leaving an area of your lawn unkept or adding some shrubs and flowering plants to provide animals with food and shelter.
While starting a vegan garden does require some research, it is not impossible. From picking the plants you want and providing them with the optimal conditions to even looking after the local animals, these tasks are easy to pick up. The longer you do it, the more proficient you’ll become and your garden will be that much more healthy and bountiful. Plus, you don’t have to spend money on groceries, you are sure everything you eat is clean, natural and organic, and you are helping the planet by composting, reducing waste and reducing your carbon footprint.
Theodora is a passionate blogger from Sydney and she simply loves nature. That is why she loves writing about gardening and growing fruits and veggies. Besides that, she loves martial arts and enjoys being an IT nerd.
Submitted Exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Theodora Evans. © 2021 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.
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