By Piers Warren, co-author (with his daughter, Ella Bee Glendining) of The Vegan Cook & Gardener: Growing, Storing and Cooking Delicious Healthy Food all Year Round, available from tinyurl.com/VONCOOK21
‘Veganic’ is a combination of two words ‘vegan’ and ‘organic’. It’s a guarantee that food is grown in an organic way with only plant based fertilizers, encouraging functional biodiversity so pesticides are not necessary. No chemicals, no GMO and no animal by-products in any part of the chain.
We all know that following a plant-based diet is the most ethical, healthy and environmentally friendly way of eating possible, but growing some of those plants can give you huge satisfaction along with all the fun, self-reliance and planet-saving benefits of producing your own food, too. It can be done at any level, from keeping potted herbs on a windowsill or growing vegetables in your back garden, to aiming for near self-sufficiency from a larger plot or allotment.
Growing veganically should go hand-in-hand with aims to lower our carbon footprints and care for the earth: using sustainable methods, reusing materials or using recycled products, improving biodiversity, using as little packaging as possible and as little fossil fuel energy as possible (ideally none).
In early summer (around June time) it’s not too late to sow seeds of fast-growing crops, and now the weather has warmed up, most can be sown directly outside. If you don’t have a vegetable plot or allotment already prepared, then a great way to start is by sowing in containers. They don’t have to be posh terracotta pots either; anything that has some drainage holes and will hold some compost will be fine.
Seeds that you can sow in the summer include beetroot, carrots, chinese cabbage, pak choi, radish, lettuce and other salads. Many potted herbs can be purchased at any time of the year. For crops that need a slightly longer growing season, you can go to a garden centre or look online for young plants that are ready to pot on or plant out in your garden. Look out for courgettes, french and runner beans, peas, peppers, pumpkins, sweetcorn and tomatoes. All of these can be grown in containers but some of the larger ones will benefit from being planted in open ground; such as courgettes, pumpkins, beans and sweetcorn.
Ideally these would be in raised beds, but even if you don’t have prepared space they can be planted in your borders among ornamental plants. Courgettes are a great example for this; they can be dotted around the garden where they will produce beautiful large yellow flowers and then a bumper harvest of fruits in a relatively short period of time. Once you start eating something that was picked just a few minutes ago, you won’t want to stop growing your own!
For more information about growing veganically see the Vegan Organic Network website
More information about Piers Warren at https://www.pierswarren.co.uk/