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As of the writing of this snow still blankets much of British Columbia, but that does not stop us from thinking about the little seeds that we will soon be planting in our vegetable gardens. These musings led us to thinking about what we use to grow our food each year. Most commercial fertilizers, even organic, contain some animal products. A broad search of garden shops in the Vancouver area last year showed an abysmal lack of plant-based fertilizers. So we reached out to one of the few Veganic farmers in British Columbia to help us get a good start on our gardens this year and to strengthen it for years to come.
Stephen Hunt of Brightside Blueberries and Such provides us with a fulsome explanation of Veganic farming methods. Stephen is a Master Gardener and has been Veganic farming just outside of Duncan, BC for over 10 years. He cultivates a variety of fruits and vegetables and is currently expanding into almonds and walnuts. Everything is grown without the use of animal products and without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
During this informative interview we learn how to enhance and support our soil, the best way to discourage unwanted visitors from eating our produce, what soil amendments to use and where to find them. We discuss why crop rotation is important even in a small garden, the advantages of green mulch and the power of nitrogen-fixing plants. Stephen describes how to make a nutrient rich ‘tea’ for your garden, one which might even stop some of those uninvited garden guests from feasting on your food before you have the chance.
Stephen has also provided us with one of his favourite recipes: a complete veganic fertilizer/soil amendment recipe. These ingredients can be sourced from many ‘seed and feed’ stores:
- 4 parts alfalfa
- 1 part rock phosphate
- 1 part dolomitic lime
- 1/2 part kelp meal
Mix this together thoroughly then sprinkle on top of your vegetable garden beds and dig it in with your spade.
Happy gardening! Let us know how you do this year.