November is World Vegan Month, and if you’re already vegan, on your way to becoming vegan or trying out a vegan diet, growing your own produce makes veganism so much easier.
There are so many other benefits to growing your own produce, including:
- Saving money
- Engaging in a new hobby
- Understanding more about how food is made (great for kids!)
- Healthier, chemical free diet
- A sense of accomplishment every time you grow something and use it for cooking
How World Vegan Month can save the world (and you!)
Veganism and growing your own fruit and veg go hand in hand because you know exactly where your food is coming from, AND you’re reducing your impact on the environment.
Food bought in supermarkets isn’t usually sourced from the friendly, local farmer down the road. It often travels across the country, or even the world, to get to you. The further it has to travel, the higher the carbon footprint, for example, scientists revealed that a ready-made breakfast sandwich generates 1441g of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is pretty much the same as driving a car 12 miles.
Growing your own reduces this carbon footprint to nearly nothing, if not nothing at all. This means less impact on the environment, and fresher, healthier food for you. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, here’s how you can get started.
Celebrate World Vegan Month by growing your own produce
Planning your growing space
You don’t need an entire farm if you’re only producing food for your own household! Many common vegetables can be grown in a small, sunny patch in your garden. Carrots are best suited in the ground, but short-rooted varieties work well in containers. This is the same for potatoes, broccoli, salad leaves and many other veggies.
If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry! A sunny windowsill or two is all you need, depending on how much you want to grow. Tomatoes, garlic, scallions and kale (if you’re of the hipster variety) all work very well as indoor plants.
Prepping your patch
If you’ve never grown veg before and you’ve had other plants growing in the space you’ve put aside, you’ll need to do a little prepping.
Put aside half a day on the weekend where you can turn the soil over and remove any leftover roots, and other obstacles like weeds and stones. This will help your veggies thrive.
Obviously, if you’re indoors, just use some fresh soil in your containers. No prep needed!
If you’re going chemical-free, you’ll want to take pest control into your own hands. There are many eco-friendly and afforable options when it comes to pest control, including laying down egg shells to fend of snails and slugs, spreading garlic around to stop moles in their tracks and placing potatoes aroudn your carrots to ward off flies.
There’s plenty more advice on eco-friendly pest control in my blog post here.
Compost the hell out of your waste
Reducing waste is a big part of veganism, and one great way to do this is to compost any leftover waste you may have. Fruit and veg scraps, tea bags and coffee filters, unwaxed carboard and stale bread are just a few of the many things that you can and should compost.
If you start now, your compost will probably ready to use next autumn. Apply a bucketful per square meter to your beds after harvesting, and watch your veggies thrive next spring.
Grow according to the season
We’re very lucky to have lots of seasonal fruit and veg in the UK, due to the varying weather across the year. The best way to take advantage of this is to grow according to the season.
My handy gardening calendar will help you out here. For each month, I tell you what to plant, what to prune and what to harvest, and everything in between – including some extra jobs for your garden. Find it here.
Will you try veganism and growing your own produce for World Vegan Month? Let me know in the comments section, or find me on social media!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.