Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
So, I have a big garden. About 3/4 acre. We raise about half of what we eat in it. I've always used at least some minimal regular fertilizer (which is a petroleum product) and no pesticides. We're working towards totally veganic, which uses plant composts and rock powders and so on to keep the soil nourished. It takes time to transition, though. It requires new habits, new techniques, and plant composting that takes at least a year to get going on the scale we need it.
This is my dilemma ...
I want an organic garden *this year*. Veganic is my goal, but it's going to take me a couple years to really get it down. And something has to be done in the meantime.
The organic fertilizer I can both locate and afford contains a fish meal as well as blood meal. There are mixes I can make myself, that have no animal products in them. But, I haven't been able to find the ingredients locally and they may be prohibitively expensive.
Also, there is a horse farm right across the street from me. The woman there breeds show horses for halter classes. The horses are never ridden ... but their lives are actually worse, in my view, than a riding horse. And if they're not successful as show horses, they are more likely to end up discarded/slaughtered/abused/neglected because few people will keep a horse that can't be ridden.
She has almost house sized mounds of manure that she ends up burning because there's so much of it. We haven't used manure in the garden yet because it just doesn't feel right from a vegan point of view.
So ... I know that many vegans also like to use organic foods. But, in the practice of trying to grow them, this is something I struggle with.
Nearly all (and all commonly available) organic fertilizers contain animal products. And not just a little. That's what they are. The one I'm researching today uses fish and blood meal for nitrogen. Other organic fertilizers contain bone meal and ground up feathers.
The ideal answer, of course, is veganic agriculture. And that's what I'm trying for. But ... what to do in the meantime?
My question to my fellow vegans ... what's more vegan, petroleum based chemical fertilizers, or animal based organic ones??? Would you use a fertilizer that contained fish and blood to grow your food? And what about manure?
I would use the manure until the veganic compost was abundant enough to take its place.
To my mind it is like feeding rescued/feral cats, who even leading vegan petfood sites will recommend meat for their diets, you have to do what you have to do. Using the manure would be a practical matter, it's probably free, and if it will be burned anyway, why not grow vegan food with it? The difference between cats and your situation is that there is a much closer end in sight to the use of animal products.
I can't wait for the day I have a little patch of earth to do the same thing with.
I agree with Billy, Lisa. I would have no problem with using the manure.
I would be interested in hearing the reasons why someone might have a problem with using the manure though.
Have a look at;
Also check out Planet Natural.com
Regarding the horses, can you maybe offer t adopt a couple and just let them graze and use their manure? They'll have a good life and you'll get a benefit from looking after them. I would have a problem using manure from horses that were neglected or abused.
Thanks for those resources, Kerry. Adopting horses ... I did equine rescue a while back. WOW is it expensive. Once everything is figured in, the cost is about $200-$300 a month, per horse. I'd do it again, but can't afford it.
Thanks so much for your input, you guys! ... Tim has his bee issue, I have the organic issue :). I've always struggled with this - even before I was vegan - and the ideal solution is obviously total veganic. I still don't think I can do the manure. I dunno if it's just me being stubborn, but it just feels ... not right.
This looks like a good mix, and I'm working on locating the ingredients locally ... (obviously, I would use the animal free options).
Organic Fertilizer Recipe
Mix uniformly, in parts by volume: 4 parts seed meal
1/3 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground
1/3 part gypsum (or double the agricultural lime)
1/3 part dolomitic lime
Plus, for best results:
1 part bone meal, rock phosphate or high-phosphate guano
1/2 to 1 part kelp meal (or 1 part basalt dust)
1/2 level kitchen measuring teaspoonful (carefully measured) of ordinary washing borax per each four quarts of seedmeal.**
Sounds good. If you are intending to sell any of your produce you might check with whoever is able to certify you organic. They may also have some vegan recipes to alternate your fertiliser regimen with.