As a vegan, your diet is comprised entirely of things that grow. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds — every part of your diet is a plant or one of its byproducts.
That’s why it makes perfect sense for vegans to look into the possibility of cultivating their own gardens. And if you’re ready to take the plunge, here are four tips to consider as you start your own:
Use Your Regular Menu As Inspiration
As you start to plan your garden, you’ll first want to think about your own diet. What fruits and veggies do you eat most? Those plants should be top-priority additions to the vegan garden you will begin to cultivate.
Of course, you’ll have to consider the time of year when you plant, as well as the seasonality of each seed you sow. While some greens will grow in all kinds of weather, other fruits and vegetables thrive in specific times of the year only.
Don’t forget that you can grow sources of vegan protein, too. Everything from soybeans to peanuts and sunflower seeds to quinoa can thrive in your backyard garden.
Look at Fertilizers With Scrutiny
Although the produce in your vegan garden will, of course, suit your diet, the products you use to make them grow won’t always match your standards. This is especially true with fertilizer and plant food, which often include animal blood or bones that inspire growth. You should also be wary of animal manure, which could be pumped full of unhealthy additives that were once fed to the horse, cow, etc.
Your best bet is to whip up your own brand of vegan fertilizer. A simple recipe contains:
· One part kelp meal
· Two parts cottonseed meal
· Two parts colloidal phosphate
· Three parts wood ash, granite dust or greensand
If you opt to use wood ash, it’s once again up to you to ensure the wood is all-natural and free of the additives you’re trying to avoid.
Respect the Earth Around You
Technically, insecticides and pesticides are animal product-free, but they’re not particularly kind on the environment around your vegan garden. Not only can they run off into the water supply, but they’ll also make their way into the bellies of birds, bunnies and other creatures that might nibble on the fruits of your garden.
Of course, having these pests is a pain, so you might want to look into animal-proof gardening ideas. Something as simple as fencing in your garden or placing plants inside of hard-to-access raised beds could prevent hungry wildlife from munching on your dinner.
Invest in the Space and Tools
As you plan your garden, you’ll want to make sure you have all of the space and resources you need to grow your envisioned produce. In most cases, you’ll want to start with a small garden, earn your green thumb, and then expand into a larger space.
To sow and later maintain your garden, be sure you have all of the necessary resources on hand. Aside from the aforementioned fertilizer and animal proofing, you’ll need shovels, gloves, pruning scissors and support stakes depending on what you plan to grow. In some cases, you might need to rent larger tools to complete your gardening project, but a short weekend rental probably won’t break the bank. Larger tools are great if you want to build your own raised garden and you’re choosing a heavier material like rock or cinderblock.
With these tips in mind, all you have left to do is get started on your backyard garden. In no time at all, the plants and seeds you sow will become the plants and seeds that make up your vegan diet. And, we promise, there’s nothing better than eating the literal fruits of your labor —especially as someone who already thrives on fresh fruits and veggies.
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