Well, it seems maybe some sections of the horticultural world aren’t quite ready for vegan gardening just yet! A recent request for information about vegan gardening on a Facebook group (that shall remain nameless) provoked such ferocious responses that several people left the group in protest and the thread was subsequently deleted. Suffice to say, some members of this group that’s affiliated to a much-loved gardening institution, may not be ready to garden vegan just yet.
Prior to the release of his book The Super Organic Gardener, Matthew Appleby was interviewed by a number of media outlets (most notably featuring on the Roots and All podcast!) and spoke about all aspects of vegan garden, specifically how you might implement the principles in your own garden. One of the aspects of vegan gardening that causes some surprise and occasionally consternation, even among vegans I might add, is the shunning of animal manures. I discussed this with Matthew during our interview and he gives sound reasons for not using them, although it seems the idea is very much at odds with traditional gardening methods. So much so that Matthew was accorded the proud honour of a mention in Private Eye:
It’s a serious question though – how do you ensure the very basis for all your growing is free from animal products, assuming that’s the route you’ve chosen to go down? Well, in truth, it’s not easy. You can choose to avoid obvious products such as manure but when you get down to ready mixed growing media such as composts, the situation becomes a lot trickier. At present, the safest bet seems to be opting for a specifically vegan preparation, such as Fertile Fibre’s vegan compost, which I spoke about at length during my interview with Caroline Cotton of Fertile Fibre. The Fertile Fibre product is the only compost on the market at present that’s certified organic by the Soil Association and has Vegan Society approval. Other products may claim to be vegan and organic but without these stamps of approval, you can’t be 100% certain.
As the concept of vegan gardening becomes more widely-known and accepted, I’m sure the range of vegan gardening products will expand accordingly. But for now, those of us choosing to garden without animal products may have to put up with some lack of choice and a certain amount of ire!