“Veganic” stands for vegan and organic, and it is the new trend taking organic gardening to the next level.
To date, organic gardening has been widely accepted as the superior form of gardening. Organic produce is often preferred to normal produce, and of course comes with a price tag. However, with the new generation of vegans, the rise of the vegan gardener is growing across the UK, US and Australia.
Organic gardening involves growing produce without synthetic chemicals, pesticides and growth stimulants. Veganic gardening is the next level of organic gardening by also minimising the use of animal parts and animal by-products in the soil. The vegan gardener wants to garden without supporting the unethical livestock industry, and unfortunately the average commercial soil is full of livestock blood, bone and manure.
The Pros of Veganic Gardening
An associate professor of Urban and Environmental studies at Loyola Marymount University, Mona Seymour, describes that veganic gardening is a way to avoid food safety issues. Mona explains that it eliminates the risk of E. coli transmission from manures and veterinary antibiotic uptake by plants associated with the use of animal products in agriculture. In addition to the health benefits, there are a range of environmental benefits like the prevention of environmental contamination from veterinary pharmaceuticals.
Like an organic gardener, a veganic gardener will often embrace wildlife with the purpose of reviving the land to be a habitat for animals, attracting worms and other good insects which make the soil fertile for growing quality food. Vegan gardening uses a philosophy of growing in harmony with natural insects, worms and small animals. Of course, this is not to be confused with the traditional meaning of vegan which avoids animals and animal by-products altogether because plants absolutely need other forms of life to thrive. A vegan garden should mimic how herbs or vegetables could flourish in the wild – through the dependence on many small animals, bees, dead leaves and other beneficial organisms.
In this way, vegan gardeners avoid using animal by-products from unethical food industries by attracting the right animals into their garden. The ultimate aim of the vegan garden is to achieve an equilibrium where the biodiversity allows for all levels of the food chain to exist in the garden. Each level in the food chain will keep the next level in check, which means that plants can flourish without the need the resort to any human-made pest controlling mechanism.
Common practices of a vegan gardener include using:
- a “no till method” to reduce digging and disturbing the earth
- home-made compost
- companion planting methods
- plenty of organic matter on the soil surface to attract earthworms and beneficial microorganisms
- hedges instead of man-made fencing to allow small predators to pass through
- soils or fertilisers with minimal livestock blood, bone or manure
So, how do you start a vegan garden? Check out Ceroote’s vegan gardener tips at www.ceroote.com.au/blog/veganic-gardening-how-to-start-a-vegan-garden/.
Veganic Gardening for Urban Dwellers
Don’t have a back garden? No worries, you can still make the most of vegan gardening!
A herb balcony or in the kitchen using organic certified soil with minimal animal ingredients is a great way to start an urban vegan garden. Look out for urban composting solutions at your local garden store so that you can make your own vegan compost and reduce food waste.
Starting from seed is the most concrete way to ensure that your herbs are not affected by veterinary antibiotic uptake. If you would prefer to buy seedlings, you can replant the seedlings in veganic soil. We like to grow from seed because most vegetable and herb seedlings come in plastic pots and are non-recyclable. It is also a lot easier to buy organic seeds rather than organic vegetable and herb seedlings which are generally not available at larger chain stores. If you are growing from seed, don’t forget to use seedling mix or a germination layer to encourage the seed to sprout.
Ensure your herbs have plenty of sunlight after they are established. If you are growing on an outdoor balcony, you can bring your herbs in on extremely sunny or frosty days to protect them from the weather. If you are growing indoors and need to buy pots, look out for biodegradable pots which are good for the environment.
While vegan gardening is often associated with growing your own produce, there is no reason why we shouldn’t consider growing indoor plants in veganic soil. It is important to have a home which reflects your values and if supporting an unethical food industry isn’t aligning with your beliefs, then growing indoor plants in veganic soil is the new alternative option.
If you would like to start small in your indoor vegan gardening journey, you can make or buy vegan fertiliser. To take the next step, you can buy organic soil for your houseplants and once your plants need repotting, replace the soil with organic soil. While there is currently no certified vegan soil available, you can make a difference by checking out the ingredient list of soils and buy ones with minimal animal parts.
If you are in the UK, you can buy fertiliser from Natural Grower, a UK startup which specialises in vegan organic fertilisers and garden products.
To understand the pros and cons of veganic fertilisers, you can head to Ceroote’s gardening blog at http://www.ceroote.com.au/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-using-vegan-fertiliser.
Our verdict: Veganic gardening is here to stay
With ethical consumers growing significantly and veganism in the UK quadrupling in the last five years to 600,000 vegans in 2019, (Source: Vegan Society) we think vegan gardening is here to stay.
About: Lila is the founder of the world’s first plant brand catering for vegans and conscious consumers, Ceroote. With an ethos of “Plants With Respect”, Sydney based start-up Ceroote has a vision to set the trend for the future of indoor and outdoor gardening through veganic gardening. Ceroote sells seed kits and indoor plants with a veganic philosophy. Simply head to www.ceroote.com.au/ for the best vegan gardening tips and or check out their Instagram for plenty of plant inspiration!