My vegetable garden is just about due for a dose of nutrients. Because I’m gardening in raised beds, and because I haven’t started composting yet (I will soon, I swear), I need to feed the soil. In other words, I need fertilizer. Sounds simple, right? Just head to the nearest nursery or building supply and pick up one of those bags that promises bushels upon bushels of enormous, vibrant fruits and vegetables.
Would that it were so easy! I had never really thought about it, but there is a difference between organic gardening and vegan organic gardening. Alas, most of the fertilizers on the market—and all of the fertilizers that I’ve seen on shelves at Home Depot, Anawalt, OSH, and the five or so dedicated nurseries I’ve visited—are made from animal byproducts. That’s right: Read the ingredients on that box of plant food, and you’re likely to find anything from blood meal and bone meal (factory farm and slaughterhouse byproducts) to fish emulsion (made from carcasses sourced from commercial fish farms or left over at fish-processing plants). Continue reading