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VeniceLockjaw
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I've been vegan for about four months and I'm starting to plan a veganic herb/veg. garden. The problem is, I went and bought an organic soil mix at the store and I just stupidly noticed that it contains cow manure and poultry. I bought 6 of them and they're still sitting in the car. My family thinks that I'm going mad and think that I'm striving too hard for perfection in an imperfect world. Luckily, they gave me a day to figure out what I'm going to do. I want to return the soil and set on mixing my own compost and soil but they think that it will be too time consuming.

I'm 14 btw.

I hope you can understand this. What would you do if you were in my situation? I wish there was vegan soil mix that I could buy from the store, but I don't think there's such a thing...​
 

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Vegan since 1991
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I have been growing a garden since 2012 and herb pots since 2011. I have never used fertilizer. I DO remember however going to every garden center in a 20 mile radius trying to figure out how to grow a garden with vegan fertilizer and no one seemed to have any advice or understanding of this or where to find it or how to mix it in appropriate ratios. It was very frustrating. one person told us to just try working with what we have and go for it. So that is what we did. Thankfully we never raked our yard when our apple tree sheds in the Autumn and we let the apples rot in the ground there so we have good soil from that. We just dug up a plot of land in our yard, cleared the sod away and tilled it well and so on. Our soil is slightly sandy and dry but our yard gets good sun and amazingly we had tremendous success with our garden! While our first garden was underway, my husband built a compost bin outside and we started keeping a mini compost in our kitchen with vegan food scraps like potato peelings, tops of tomatoes and so on. When it fills, we dump it in our larger compost bin outside. We also added dead leaves, twigs, yard clippings and so on to our compost bin outside and my husband regularly turned the compost bin and checked to make sure it was warm and breaking down the matter. The next three years we used our own compost for our garden. It hasn't made a huge difference either way. We have had success growing beets, spinach, collard greens, onions, carrots, cucumbers, string beans, tomatoes, winter squash, and loads of herbs. The only plant we can't seem to get going is bell peppers but that is more to do with the climate we live in. If you have decent soil you could just try tilling it and planting directly into it. Otherwise, I think David's link there is a great resource! Our city has something similar, and while there is animal scraps used in the compost they make (it comes from restaurant scraps), it is not a direct purchase of slaughtered animal material. I think this is a better choice than buying organic fertilizer that uses slaughtered fish and other animals specifically sought out for the minerals/material for the fertilizer.
 

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Give peas a chance
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Personally, I think using animal poop in a garden is okay. It's poop. The animals weren't harmed to create it and they have no further use for it. It's a different situation if you see compost with blood meal, bone meal, fish meal, fish emulsion or feather meal. Animals were harmed to produce these things.

I use Ecoscraps compost from Home Depot. No poop or chemicals. It's made from fruit and vegetable scraps:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/EcoScraps-1-cu-ft-Moisture-Retaining-Compost-Mix-28-0369-1922-1/203182734

The problem with using cow and chicken manure in a garden is that you should really compost it first... which is time-consuming.... like months. You probably want to put a garden in now. It can burn the plants if you apply it fresh, before it has been broken down. But the bigger concern is that it can have e.coli in it, which can make you very sick.

That's if you are buying a big bag of cow or chicken manure. I think most gardeners who use animal manure will use it when it is a part of a blended compost. It's composted so it is broken down and safer for the plants and not as likely to have e.coli. During composting, you want the temp to get up to 130-140 degrees for several days. That kills off a lot of the e.coli. There's a big difference between buying a bag of manure, and buying a bag of compost which contains composted animal manure as one of the ingredients.

I grow tomatoes, squash, beans, kale, spinach, chard, cucumber and parsley. I use the Ecoscraps compost for everything. I have 8 beds with nothing but compost. They've been going for 6 six years. I've never used commercial fertilizers or Miracle Gro. I just keep adding compost at the end of each season.

I also have an area of the yard that has a lot of clay in it, so that causes some problems. For the tomatoes I grow in the clay I will till in a bunch of compost, and add a half cup of Green Sand and a cup of worm castings to the hole at the time I am transplanting the tomato.... just to give the tomatoes some extra fertilizer. And I have some beds that are just for leafy green plants. On those I will add Alfalfa Meal a couple times a year. It's high in nitrogen which is good for promoting leafy plants.

Here is an interesting page with summaries on vegan fertilizers:
http://gentleworld.org/whats-hiding-in-your-organic-fertilizer/
 

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I like what I have heard from others. It does not make sense to throw something away. I would suggest to use it now and then figure out another alternative. I really like what certain well know nutritionist say about food. They say not to give something up, but to crowd it out with other great foods.
 
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