Vegan Soil Amendments

March 13, 2018 7 Comments

Vegan Soil Amendments

There's a ton of reasons to consider Vegan amendments for your soil and fertilizer needs. For some, it's a life choice based on the food they put in their body, for others it may be a desire to not support the current meat industry and slaughterhouses. That's definitely something I can get behind.

Now just to be clear, I don't personally believe Veganic or Vegan-grown vegetables/cannabis to be inherently better than other methods of gardening. At the end of the day, the plant doesn't know if the nitrogen came from a plant or animal source. In a forest environment, you have animals constantly dying or leaving manure on the forest floor. You have earthworms and insects as well as microbes decomposing the organic matter. It's part of a natural process. 

Regardless of the ethical or moral considerations, here's some great options for growers. You can click on any of the listed amendments to read more. Certain amendments like kelp meal or alfalfa meal have other benefits like naturally occurring plant growth hormones, making them more beneficial than just the nutrient content.

Below is some of the options for each of these macro and micro nutrients, along with the percentage they contain of that particular nutrient. Just click on any of the amendments for a link to more information.

Nitrogen:

Alfalfa Meal (2%), Corn Gluten Meal (9%), Neem Seed Meal (2-5%), Karanja Seed Meal, Kelp Meal  (1%), 

Phosphorus:

Soft Rock Phosphate, Neem Seed Meal (0.5-1%), Alfalfa Meal (1%)

Potassium:

Neem Seed Meal (1-2%), Kelp Meal (2%), Alfalfa Meal (2%), K-Mag (21%)

Calcium

Agricultural Lime (38%), Gypsum (22%), Dolomite Lime (21%), Soft Rock Phosphate, Neem Seed Meal (0.5-3%), Compost

Water (if your water source is 40-60 ppm or higher then you may not need to supplement Ca in your soil).

Magnesium:

Dolomite Lime (11.6%), K-Mag (10.5%)

Sulfur

Gypsum (17%), K-Mag (21%)

Trace Minerals:

Azomite, Glacial Rock Dust, Basalt, Super Greensand, Kelp Meal

Wild Harvested Sources: Keep in mind these are fairly low in macro-nutrients and will vary based on the soils they are grown in. 

Nettle, Comfrey, Horsetail, etc...

Beneficial but may not qualify as "Vegan"

Earthworm Castings - I've heard some Vegan growers say this is okay and some that won't use them. That being said, Earthworm castings are one of the BEST amendments to any soil. High levels of beneficial microbes along with plant-available nutrients.

Insect Frass (3-2-4)  - Good ratio of macro-nutrients as well as excellent microbial content. One of my favorite all around fertilizers and sustainably grown.

Oly Mountain Fish Compost - A 2 year aged fish and woody material compost that contains excellent microbiology right out of the bag.

Sample Soil Recipe: (feel free to adjust to your own growing conditions or substitute other ingredients from the list)

1/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss or Coco Coir (if using Coco, add another 1/2 c. gypsum)

1/3 Compost or Earthworm Castings

1/3 Aeration (Pumice, Perlite, Vermiculite, Lava Rock, etc...)

add at 1 cup per cubic ft:

Alfalfa Meal

Kelp Meal

Neem Seed Meal

add at 1/2 cup per cubic ft:

Karanja Meal

Basalt

Soft Rock Phosphate

Gypsum

Ag Lime

add at 1/4 cup per cubic ft:

Dolomite Lime

Super Greensand

Ultimately it's best to get a soil test so you can see what your nutrient levels are, but as long as you plant looks happy then that's the ultimate test. Happy growing!





7 Responses

Tad Hussey
Tad Hussey

July 16, 2018

David, let me know if I can help. Best of luck in your garden!

David
David

July 16, 2018

Mahalo for posting this. I became interested in vegan grow methods through Kyle Kushman’s podcast but have been unable to find a good recipe for making the soil. Also many of the soils on the market in my area include non-vegan nutrients.

Tad Hussey
Tad Hussey

July 11, 2018

Marc,

It would all depend on the quality of the compost and earthworm castings. Assuming they are of good quality and contain good microbial diversity and biomass, then having 2 sources is better in my opinion.

Marc
Marc

July 06, 2018

Is it beneficial to use wormcasting and compost combined?

zonwzqyv
zonwzqyv

July 01, 2018

This looks like a good recipe, I was going to follow the traditional Clackamas recipe but I would prefer to keep all animal products out, especially since the ocean could use a break from us dredging and overfishing.

Can you recommend a good substitute for in the Clackamas recipe the 1 cup Crab/Crustacean meal? And also for the Oyster flour in the Mineral mix?

Really trying to nail it on my first batch of organic soil, though i understand I have a lot to learn.. Thanks!

Tad Hussey
Tad Hussey

April 09, 2018

Yes Melody, the above recipe would be based on cubic ft not cubic yards.

Melody KirkWagner
Melody KirkWagner

April 08, 2018

Thanks! I appreciate the article. I’ve had to dig through “sources of potassium,” read them all, pick out the vegan ones, move on to the next nutrient…And it’s hard to get garden centers to be polite about my objections to gross cruelty. I’m good with worm poop, but the fish – no chance that even qualifies as vegetarian, much less vegan unless maybe it’s fish bits the bears left behind. :-) The rest of it is great, though.

I wanted to double check with you – all those amendments are per cu ft, not per cubic yard?

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