Saturday, February 7, 2015

Recycled Cardboard box garden

farm hack
Gardening is easy as throwing out seeds onto a patch of soil-- really, you do not need any raised bed, but I believe Growing in a cardboard box seems almost as effortless, especially compared to other raised bed ideas.

Save or collect boxes to create raised beds. I usually have boxes from my case of bananas or other fruit. These boxes then get used in the garden in some way. In this case, the box acts like a barrier for weeds.  Typical Raised beds are made of recycled pallets assembled with nails and hammers, and even some saw work or digging. Using the cardboard box method makes gardening for elders and kids easily maintained, considering it requires no tilling, shoveling, hoeing, etc. Even raised beds made of dead logs requires much labor, for example hauling heavy, large logs from the woods to your desired location.

*I am not advocating for cardboard to continue to be manufactured to serve our own purposes; but I am advocating collecting materials that would otherwise go to a landfill. 

pic from: meinlessmatters
Although I have access to plenty of logs to make raised beds and hugelkultur mounds, and I have access to pallets to make raised beds-- I feel that a cardboard box garden can come in handy for overgrown areas of my food forest. For example there are patches of overgrown areas between flower bushes. Instead of layering soil on top of the overgrown spots--which may promote more weed growth--the cardboard would prohibit the weeds from growing up into the soil.
birds and blooms

Many Permaculturists use cardboard as the barrier layer between the grass/bare ground and the compost/soil/mulch layer. This ensures the weeds will not grow through the soil, competing with your veggies for nutrition. Keep in mind, cardboard boxes is a short term solution because the cardboard will quickly degrade with the contained soil. As the cardboard degrades it creates a surface medium for next years garden, for example: Continue to add soil/wood chips/compost over top the degraded/dilapidated boxes, which will continue to smother out surrounding weeds, and give you a chance to collect more cardboard for sheet mulching, which I have discussed in detail here: Straw bale Layering, & Lasagna Gardening (Sheet mulching).

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