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Thread: Forests have existed for ages without being fertilised. Do we need fertilisers?

  1. #1
    Beanstalk
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    Default Forests have existed for ages without being fertilised. Do we need fertilisers?

    I have to admit that I have never grown any plant edible or ornamental but I once met a dude who said that fertilizer is necessary to grow food and there are two sources: animal types such as their poo or blood & bone that comes from slaughterhouses or there is chemical fertilizer that if you use means you are not growing organically. I was thinking that since old growth forests have existed for thousands of years without ever being fertilized, why do you need fertiliser to grow food?

  2. #2
    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for gardeners.

    There's lots of organic fertilisers, that's what compost is. You don't strictly need to add fertiliser to plants but it helps, everyone wants their plants to grow as well as possible. Still, being vegan and being "organic" are two totally different things.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Question for gardeners.

    Hi Beanstalk, I used to grow organic vegetables. I used all my vegetable waste as compost, I also collected seaweed from the beach which I dug into the soil. You can grow certain crops when you are not using the soil that can then be dug back in as green manures. We have some friends who are vegan stock free farmers, Stock free farming is becoming more popular in the UK. As far as I know they concentrate on the green manure methods.

  4. #4
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for gardeners.

    To add to what Mymblesdaughter has said, there is an organisation called the Vegan Organic Network which has a lot of information about stock-free agriculture and horticulture, but their website doesn't seem to be working at the moment - however you can watch a presentation about it by following the link on this page http://www.goveganic.net/article188.html

  5. #5
    shaunamom
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    Default Re: Question for gardeners.

    You don't need animal-based fertilizer, but you can find a way to get completely natural animal manure, if you live in a location that has any native wildlife. I live in an area with lots of native rabbits which would normally eat my garden. To help keep my garden doing well, I plant some local plants that are healthy for them that the rabbits can enjoy at the edges of the garden rather than eat the plants I wish to save, and they provide a natural fertilizer when they come to visit. Ground dwelling birds can help too - we have local quail, and I gather local seeds they eat and plant them among my garden plants so they still have their food while I have my garden.

  6. #6
    Beanstalk
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    Default Re: Forests have existed for ages without being fertilised. Do we need fertilise

    I came across a book in the library recently called "|t so Natural Household Companion" by Alan Hayes. The book says you can compost tin cans and it will return essential nutrients to the soil.

  7. #7
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: Forests have existed for ages without being fertilised. Do we need fertilise

    Quote Beanstalk View Post
    ... why do you need fertiliser to grow food?
    You only need fertiliser if you are trying to grow a higher yeild than the growing area will naturaly support?
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Forests have existed for ages without being fertilised. Do we need fertilise

    I am growing my first outdoor garden this year and I am not using fertilizer at all. My husband and I started a compost pile a few months prior with grass clippings, brown leaves, and food waste we add in from our kitchen (potato peels, vegetable scraps, etc but no animal products). We added this to the soil we dug up and tilled in our yard. We are growing carrots, onion, beans, and spinach from seed and tomato and pepper from transplant, and also are growing herb pots using the soil from our garden with basil, oregano, mint, and parsley. We have chives naturally growing in our yard that have been doing that for years, and an apple tree that doesnt need our help at all that has been there since we have 13 years ago. The seeds we bought may have come from a garden processed with fertilizer or animal sources, I dont know. Some are organic and some aren't. Same with the transplants. But our own garden is not using animal products. So far everything but the spinach is doing very well and growing at a good pace. The spinach seeds were old, given to us by family, and I suspect that is why they are not growing. We aren't using pesticides either, just some mesh fencing to keep as many animals out as we can. If we get bugs I dont know what we will do, but we will worry about that if and when it happens.
    One of the practices we have kept up over the years is not to rake the yard of leaves in the Fall. It looks awful at first, especially in the Spring when the snow melts, but this practice has protected our lawn and the leaves (and old apples that have fallen from the tree and that other animals have not eaten) then absorb into the ground and by summer you would never know we had layers of leaves covering the yard. Those leaves and rotted apples have probably helped add natural compost to our soil, much like in the forest. Our soil isnt the greatest but it is fairly healthy considering we live in a suburb in the city. Some areas of the world are naturally more fertile than others for crops. When I lived in the Red River Valley at the edge of the Great Plains some years ago, the soil was naturally black and rich with minerals with no help from fertilizers. You could throw in a seed and get an incredible crop. I hope by the end of this season I will be able to prove well that you don't need animal byproducts and horrible chemicals to grow food!

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Forests have existed for ages without being fertilised. Do we need fertilise

    Nice job. Having a garden is really nice. You couple doing great. Keep it up.

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