By Sayward Rebhal, Networx
Did you know that many of the traditional organic fertilizers, for hobby home gardeners, for professional landscapers and for large-scale commercial farmers, are derived from animals and their by-products? Blood meal, bone meal, manure, fish emulsion, the list goes on and on. Animal parts can pop up in almost every phase of a standard growing season. So much so, that using them can almost seem unavoidable.
But these days, a lot of people are choosing to grow their gardens without the addition of animal products, and for many different reasons: they may be vegan or have an ethical objection, they may have religious limitations, or they may have allergies, just to name a few. In water-strapped communities that are over-tapped by local plumbing demands, like San Diego, non-animal fertilizing practices like mulching can help to conserve water. So for those folks, here’s an animal-friendly list. A handy dandy cheat sheet, if you will. Your options are as follows . . .
Compost is the perfect plant food. It’s incredibly rich in myriad minerals, and it also provides important beneficial bacteria and other essential micro fauna. These organisms help to colonize the soil, keeping it “clean” and within a desirable pH range.
You can make your own compost at home, using yard waste and kitchen scraps, or you can buy pre-made compost. Many brands offer animal-free options. Just look for boxes that are marked “vegan.”