Cardboard is a material that is often used by gardeners to help with plant growth.
Cardboard is a free and fairly ubiquitous material that is biodegradable and earth-friendly. It enriches the soil as it breaks down.
Cardboard is a valuable source of carbon, one of the building blocks of life. As it decomposes, it supplies vital energy to microbes which improve soil quality and structure.
Look for cardboard that is either 100% recycled or recyclable. When using cardboard for outdoor purposes, you should be selective and use “clean” cardboard that is plain brown, without much printing on the surface. It should be unwaxed and non-glossy, with any tape or stickers removed. You’ll find that boxes shipped from Amazon Prime include compostable tape. Look for cardboard that is either 100% recycled or recyclable.
It seems like there’s always a lot of cardboard coming into the house because of online shopping. Instead of recycling it, you can put it to use in your garden!
If you want to start a garden from scratch, be prepared for some hard work. This includes weeding the area, removing sod, tilling the soil, and adding compost or other fertilizers. Finally, you can add plants or sow seeds.
Sheet mulching can reduce the amount of work needed to prepare a garden bed, and also improve the quality of the soil. This is a permaculture technique that copies the way that soil is built up naturally on the forest floor.
After you have chosen the area for your garden, use a lawn mower to cut the grass short. Let the rest of the grass and weeds stay in the ground and soak the entire area with water.
Cover the garden plot with single sheets of cardboard. Spread a 4-inch layer of nutrient-rich compost over the cardboard. Add a final layer of wood chips, leaf mold, or other mulching material to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Water the site thoroughly once again.
Since cardboard is slow to decompose, it is perfect for sheet mulching. It also acts as a weed barrier.
Sheet mulching involves using cardboard to mulch an area, which composts in place and enriches the soil as it degrades.
This type of garden bed is ready for planting as soon as it is made. You can either sow seeds directly into the ground or transplant seedlings into the ground.
You can also start preparing for next year’s plans by sheet mulching new garden beds in the autumn.
Cardboard can be used as a weed barrier in many ways.
Instead of removing weeds or using herbicides, cardboard can be placed on top of them to prevent them from receiving sunlight.
Weed problems are often recurring in the same areas. To help with this, lay flattened cardboard down in flower beds, around shrubs and trees, and anywhere else you see weeds growing.
Cut holes or notches in the cardboard so that there is an opening around plant stalks and trunks. The cuts should be large enough that the stem can fit through. This will allow oxygen and water to reach the plant’s roots.
To prepare the cardboard, wet it down with a hose. Then, cover it with a 3-inch layer of mulch.
This para explains the benefits of using cardboard as a weed barrier. It lasts for a season or two and does not prevent nutrients or beneficial organisms from working their magic within the soil.
Cardboard can also be used to line the bottom of raised beds. This is done by placing the cardboard on the bottom of the bed before filling it with soil.
You can reduce the amount of weeds by 75% or more in just one growing season by composting cardboard, newspaper, and other compostable materials.
Protected plants: Place pieces of cardboard around the plants you want to protect. Water the cardboard immediately to help it stay in place. The cardboard will suppress the weeds and eventually break down into the soil, adding useful organic matter.
Occasionally, when temperatures unexpectedly drop, gardeners have to be innovative.
Garden cloches can be made from many different materials, but they are most commonly made from glass or plastic. You can also use almost any open-topped container to make a garden cloche, including cardboard boxes.
The most effective type of cardboard box for withstanding cold temperatures is the corrugated cardboard box. This type of box has pleated sheets of cardboard sandwiched between two flat pieces of linerboard. The pleated sheets help trap cold air, providing better insulation.
Cardboard boxes should be placed upside down and over each plant. Boxes that are a few inches taller and wider than the plant should be used.
You should cover up your plants in the evening if you think there might be a frost. Remove the covers the next morning.
While cardboard boxes aren’t the best option for protecting plants from frost in the long run, they can be useful in a tight spot.
You need to have the right amount of carbon and nitrogen in your pile to compost efficiently.
The organisms that decompose the compost are fueled by carbon for energy and nitrogen for protein.
The ideal C:N ratio for compost is 30:1.
The easiest way to achieve a 30:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen when composting at home is to mix 3 parts carbon with 1 part nitrogen. For example, this would be three 5-gallon buckets of carbon materials per one 5-gallon bucket of nitrogen materials.
Cardboard is a bulky material that is high in carbon, similar to dried leaves, straw, and wood chips. To keep the microbes fat and happy, you will need to shred or tear it up into 1-inch squares.
One of the best things about composting is that you can experiment with different materials to see how they break down at different rates. Instead of worrying about getting the perfect ratio, let your compost pile tell you what it needs. If it starts to smell bad, it probably needs more carbon. If it’s not breaking down very well, it might need more nitrogen.
First-time gardeners may be surprised by the start-up costs of tending plant life. Between tools, fertilizers, support structures, soil amendments, and pest control, gardening can quickly become a pricey hobby. However, there are ways to save money on these purchases. Many gardeners opt to purchase used tools or barter with friends for gently used supplies. There are also a number of ways to make your own soil amendments and pest controls. By doing a little research, you can find ways to save money on your gardening supplies.
There are many ways to garden cheaply. Cardboard boxes can be used as plant containers or raised beds.
Cardboard planters only last for one season, but they can be useful until you can build the garden you really want. They work well in a child’s garden too. When the season is over, you can shred them and put them in the compost.
Cardboard boxes for planting should be thick and sturdy to match the size and soil depth of the plant. The bottom flaps should be reinforced with packing tape and there should be several drainage holes punched along the bottom.
To make your cardboard box planter, fill the box with soil and add your plants or seeds. Choose a sunny spot for it, and to prevent the cardboard base from becoming soggy, elevate it an inch or two off the ground by setting it on a few bricks or by adding a layer of gravel beneath it.
Cardboard box planters can be moved around early in the season but the sides and bottom will soften over time. So once you’ve picked a spot, it’s best to keep the planter in the same place until harvest time.
You should hill up your potato crop a few times during the season to make sure they aren’t green when you harvest them. If they are green, they are toxic.
You can maximize your tuber yields by growing potatoes “up” instead of “down.” This will take up less space.
You can use all kinds of materials to make a potato growing container, like cardboard boxes.
The bottom of the box should be either intact or have the bottom flaps open if you are planting potatoes directly in the soil. If needed, add drainage holes.
As you add more soil and mulch around the plants throughout the growing season, you can slip another box over the original to create a growing tower.
Decorate Cardboard Containers
You can’t make something good out of something bad. But you can make something plain look good, and it doesn’t take much time, effort, or money.
There are many ways to decorate a cardboard box. The most simple way is to paint it, wrap it in paper, or cover it in old fabric. If you want to be more creative, try using materials such as yarn, twine, or rope.
I like laminate or cork tiles the best. You can find them with great designs now, and they’re not very expensive, just a few dollars at a home improvement store. But you’ll need some extra support for these, which can turn a cardboard box into something that looks good on the front porch.
Start New Flower Beds with Cardboard
The easiest way to start a new garden bed is by using cardboard instead of a tiller. You don’t have to sweat behind heavy machinery, and you’ll discover the magic of using cardboard.
The weight of the cardboard and topdressing will kill the grass underneath and smother any weed seeds Make a template for your garden bed on the grass with a garden hose. Edge the bed with some material to keep the grass out. Cover the area with cardboard and weigh it down with soil, mulch, leaves, or anything else you have on hand. The weight of the cardboard will kill the grass underneath and prevent any weed seeds from germinating.
After a few months, the cardboard will start to break down and fresh garden soil will be underneath, ready for plants. The best time to do this is in fall, so the cardboard can break down over the winter and you’ll be ready to plant in spring. The prep work probably won’t take more than half an hour.
Build a Pathway with Cardboard
It’s as easy as that! Making a new garden path is not as difficult as it may seem. You can have a basic one ready in about an hour with just cardboard, bricks, or something similar to outline the path and some mulch.
You’re done! To make this path, lay the cardboard flat on the ground where you want the path to go. The cardboard is thick enough to block any weeds or grass from growing through. If you see any gaps, just add more cardboard. Once the cardboard is in place, outline the path with bricks. Then, cover the path with soil and mulch. And that’s it!
Cardboard Seed Starters
Specialized supplies for seed-starting can be expensive. I have tried using grow lights, special pots, and fancy mats, but have found that cardboard boxes work best. They allow seedlings to grow inside for longer, producing stronger plants. Be sure to provide seedlings with plenty of light from an outside source for the best results. Once seedlings are ready, simply place the entire box into your garden.
This approach also works well for kids. They will learn how to take care of a garden by thinning out the seedlings, watering regularly, and being patient. This will give them the skills they need to take care of a larger garden in the future.
You can make seed starter pots out of toilet paper tubes by making a few small cuts at one end, folding the flaps in, and adding soil.
Plant the seedlings in the garden, cardboard tube and all, once they are big and strong.
If you need a seed starting container but don’t have any toilet paper tubes or paper towel rolls, you can use any cardboard material.
You can make a tube out of a long, 4-inch wide strip of cardboard, and hold it together with a natural glue made from ingredients you can find in your kitchen.
Cardboard Windowsill Herb Planter
I love the idea of having herbs growing along my kitchen windowsill. I can snip off a few bits of fresh basil or cilantro to throw into whatever’s cooking.
You can grow herbs cheaply too, by using cardboard boxes. Place small boxes in a window that gets good sunlight, and fill them with soil and herbs. You’ll be able to harvest them in no time.
Shoe Box Garden
Instead of throwing away your old shoe boxes, you can use them for storage.
Most shoe boxes aren’t deep, so choose plants that don’t need a lot of space to grow. Lettuce, petite carrots, and herbs are all good options.
The best way to have a clean appearance when making a shoebox garden is to leave the lids on the shoe boxes and cut a rectangle into the top. This way you can add your soil and plants without making a mess. You can put a shoebox garden in practically any corner of your yard or patio, which makes it a good project to do with kids. They can really take ownership of their small plots.
Cardboard Boxes in Square Foot Gardens
If you’re looking to get the most out of your gardening space, square foot gardening is a great option. I’ve used this method in my own garden with great results.
Are you looking for a new gardening method? Try cardboard gardening! Cardboard boxes can be used to mark off your planting areas instead of traditional methods. You can add your boxes to a raised bed or an empty space in your yard. Just be sure to follow the guidelines on how many plants to grow in each square foot. This method is easy and can be adapted to different size planting areas.
This is a great method for kids too. My son and daughter love being able to plan and design their own spaces. It’s a great way for them to express their creativity.