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Now currently I am inundated with Cardboard from our move last year, I kept 80% of our boxes and flattened them, etc, however a whole house of stuff produces a lot of boxes, so I have been slowly using them for other things, from backing for spray painting to fire starters.
Now I was trying to look for more uses for my cardboard as it seems a waste to even recycle it if i can find a use for it, and I did!
Spring is rapidly approaching, although my prepper brothers and sisters to the east may not feel like it is!
Now I don’t buy store bought eggs anymore, I prefer to source my eggs locally until We get settled into our final destination (where we are now currently will NOT be our homestead unfortunately) so I end up with quite a few egg cartons.
One very great way to use these is for planters. Now I know my green thumbs out there are probably going “duh!” but many folks out there are quite new to all of this!
Start by cutting the carton in half, and you can leave the flap on one side of them to write the name of the plants if that helps (i think its a great idea!). Fill the carton with soil and then plant a few seeds in each area, this will give them good spacing to begin with. Water them and as they come up cull the weaker seeds in each carton section so that the strongest survives, once planting season is here you can just bury the carton in the ground as the cardboard will decompose. If you can use the recycled non/white paper cartons as there are chemicals in the bleaching process.
The photo above comes from gardeninggrrl.wordpress.com, and you can see how she planted them carton and all!
(photo courtesy of snakeroot.net)
I did this last year in a couple of my beds as a test case to see if it would work well, and I was impressed.
I started by digging out about 5-6 inches off the tops of the raised beds. I then loosely flattened out the area and layed in a piece or two of cardboard across the whole bed.
I cut out the areas where I would plant and marked off the corners with some sticks/stakes, Then i soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it.
You will want to make sure the cardboard is through and through soaked, because if you don’t it may become hydrophobic and repel water, and that is opposite of what you want, you want it to hold moisture.
Once it was good and soaked I then cover it with dirt then at about the 2-3 inch layer i layed down another layer of cardboard and soaked it finally, covering it all with dirt. What this did was two fold.
It helped stop weeds from coming up all around my plants (it didn’t stop them from coming up in the areas where i didn’t lay cardboard, but it cut down weeding a lot), but it also helped to hold moisture in the soil. Where I am currently at the sun is very hot and the wind is harsh so it leads to dry soil. There is very little rainfall in the summer so the little we had along with my watering was held very well in the soil and led to good growth. I would often check during the days and my soil was always damp, a very good thing in that climate.
A Note: you can also use newspaper as well not the shiny junk mail flyers but paper newspapers.
In the case of the picture above these people used wood mulch on top of the cardboard, im guessing this was more to inhibit weeds than hold in moisture as it doesn’t seem to be soaked.
Raised Bed Straw grown Potatoes:
This is something i can not speak much on since I have not done it yet, I just discovered this but am very intrigued and will try to do this, this summer!
I read a brief description of how to do this on the Colorado State Extension site.
Basically what you do is prep your soil with organic matter/compost, dig a trench four inches deep and 12 inches wide.
Plant your potatoes 4-6 weeks before last frost in your area and push the see (eye up) 1/2 inch down into the loos soil and space 12 inches apart. Then fill the trench with six inches of weed free straw and as they come up add another 4 inches of straw.
Water evenly to keep moist and don’t overwater them. The straw will help to keep the soil moist, and promote plant health and growth. When August comes (or whenever your harvest time may be), you can just reach in and pull back the straw to reveal soil free potatoes, no need to dig them out!
Now how does this relate to cardboard…well if you wanted you can use some of the bigger boxes as planters. As seen in the photo above they used a old washtub/basin and filled it with 4 inches of soil and then dug the trench in there and filled with straw. On a budget or in SHTF you can use Cardboard Boxes! The nice thing as well is that the carboard will break down and you can use that as mulch the next year, etc.
There are multitudes of uses for cardboard, these are just 3 ways to use it specifically for gardening!
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