Tips from Olle Garden Bed: 9 Practical Paperboard Uses in the Garden

Cardboard is a valuable source of carbon, and carbon is one of the cornerstones of life. When it decomposes, it provides important energy for microorganisms to improve soil quality and structure.Use cardboard selectively for outdoor purposes. You want something "clean" - ordinary brown corrugated cardboard with the least surface printing. It should be non waxed and matt, remove any tape and stickers. Cardboard is usually free and quite common. It is a biodegradable and earth friendly material, which will be rich when decomposed. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

With the rise of online shopping, it seems that there is always a continuous flow of cardboard through the home. Don't send it for recycling, but make good use of it in the garden!

raised garden beds

In the eyes of gardeners, cardboard is undoubtedly a popular scene.

  1. Flake covering

Starting a garden from scratch usually involves a lot of hard work: weeding and turfing, cultivating the soil and improving it with compost or other fertilizers, and finally adding plants or sowing.

Covering boards can reduce most of the labor required to prepare garden beds, while improving soil quality. This is a dig free and sustainable cultivation technology, which mimics the soil construction process that occurs naturally along the forest ground.

After selecting the garden site, use the lawn mower to cut grass on its shortest blade setting. Leave the remaining grass and weeds in the field and thoroughly water the plot.

Lay a sheet of cardboard on the whole garden plot. Spread 4 inches of nutrient rich compost on the cardboard layer. Then add the last layer of wood chips, leaf molds, or other covering material to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Water thoroughly again.

Cardboard is the perfect material for covering sheets because it decomposes slowly and acts as a weed barrier.

Sheet mulch is also known as "in situ composting" because cardboard is made of carbon, while grass and weeds add nitrogen. When it degrades, it nourishes the soil.

Covered garden beds can be planted immediately. Pull back some mulch to guide the sow or transplant the seedlings in the compost layer.

You can also preempt next year's plan by covering new garden beds in autumn.

  1. Control weeds

In addition to being used for sheet covering, cardboard is an excellent universal weed barrier.

Instead of pulling weeds or using herbicides, cardboard simply suffocates them and prevents them from being exposed to sunlight.

Place flat cardboard around flower beds, shrubs and trees and anywhere else. Weeds are a recurring problem.

Cut holes or notches on the cardboard to make an opening around the plant straw and tree trunk. The circumference of the cut should be about 3 inches wider than the circumference of the stem. This will allow oxygen and water to reach the roots of the plant.

Wet the cardboard with a hose and cover it with a 3-inch covering.

Cardboard as a weed barrier should last for one or two seasons before it needs to be replaced. Unlike landscape fabrics made of plastic, cardboard does not prevent nutrients or beneficial organisms from exerting their magic in the soil.

You can also use cardboard to line up the bottom of the elevated bed before filling it with soil.

raised garden bed

  1. Garden Bell Tower

Sometimes, gardeners must be creative when they are unprepared and unprepared for sudden frost.

The garden clock tower is very suitable for protecting individual plants from cold weather. Although these are usually made of glass or plastic, almost any open top container can become a garden clock tower - including cardboard boxes!

Corrugated cardboard boxes provide maximum protection against cold conditions. These have pleated plates sandwiched between two flat boxes, which help capture cold air for better insulation.

Place the carton upside down on each plant. Use a box several inches wider than the plant.

Cover the plants in the night before frost, and the first thing in the morning is to remove them.

Cartons are not a long-term solution to protect plants from frost, but they will certainly come in handy at a critical moment.

  1. Composting

Efficient backyard composting requires a proper balance between carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) materials in the heap.

The decomposer tries to break down the compost, using carbon as energy and nitrogen as protein.

The fastest way to produce soil fertile compost is to increase the carbon nitrogen ratio to about 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.

As home composting is not an accurate science, the easiest way to achieve a 30:1 ratio is to mix 3 parts of carbon and 1 part of nitrogen. For example, there are three 5 gallon carbon material barrels for each 5 gallon nitrogen material barrel.

Like dry leaves, straw and sawdust, cardboard is a large material with high carbon content. You need a lot of it to keep microbes fat and happy. Chop or tear it into 1-inch squares to help speed up decomposition.

Part of the fun of composting is to try different materials that degrade at different rates. Don't obsess about perfect proportions, let your compost tell you what it needs. Odor piles require more carbon, while slow or inactive piles require more nitrogen.

raised garden bed

  1. Seed starting basin

The size and shape of the cardboard toilet paper tube are very suitable for making small seed starting cans. Just make a few small cuts at one end, and then fold the flap to make a bottom. Add soil and plant seeds.

Once the seedlings are big and strong, plant them directly in the garden - cardboard tubes and everything.

If you lack toilet paper tubes or tissue rolls, virtually any cardboard material can be used as a seed starter container.

A four inch wide strip of cardboard can be rolled into a tube. They are held together by mixing natural glue made from ingredients found in the kitchen.

  1. Container garden

First time gardeners may be surprised at the start-up cost of caring for plants. Between tools, fertilizers, supporting structures, soil amendments and pest control, gardening will soon become an expensive hobby.

In other words, there are many ways to minimize the cost of gardening. Using cardboard boxes as plant containers or elevated beds is another cheap trick.

Cardboard flowerpots only last for one season and can help you get through difficulties until you can build your dream garden. They are also very suitable for children's garden space. At the end of the season, they are shredded and thrown into compost.

Cartons shall be thick and strong, and shall match the size of plants and the depth of soil. Secure the bottom flap of the box with wrapping tape. Make several holes along the bottom for drainage.

Fill the box with soil, add plants or seeds, and then choose a sunny place. To prevent the cardboard base from getting wet, place it on several bricks or add a layer of gravel under it and lift it an inch or two off the ground.

Cardboard flowerpots can be moved early in the season, but the sides and bottom will soften over time. Therefore, once you choose a place, it is better to put it in the same place until the harvest season.

raised garden bed

  1. Potato box

Planting potato crops twice or three times a season is important to ensure that your potatoes do not turn green (and therefore toxic) when harvested.

Planting potatoes "up" rather than "down" will also maximize tuber yield in a smaller space.

All materials can be reused in potato growing containers - including cardboard boxes.

Keep the bottom of the box intact or open the bottom flap of potatoes directly planted in the soil. If necessary, add drain holes.

As you climb more soil and mulch around the plants throughout the growing season, you can slide another box over the original box to create a growth tower.

  1. Square foot gardening

Gardening in square feet is another good technique to maximize crop yield in a narrow space.

Although you can use wooden pins or twine to help visualize 1 ร— 1 foot grid, but cardboard boxes also provide a way to divide specific planting areas.

Cartons can be gathered in any open space in the yard. Be sure to raise them and add drain holes.

They can also be placed in elevated beds before adding soil. Remove any tape and stick the boxes tightly together. Add soil to each soil separately and plant seeds. Expose the top edge of the box, or cover them with more soil and mulch.

Even if your box size is not exactly one foot square, it is no problem to use a larger or smaller box.

  1. Tree protector

Young trees, between 1 and 4 years, usually need a little extra TLC to survive from one season to the next.

Protecting trees with tree wraps or protective devices helps prevent frostbite and sunburn, and prevents hungry small animals from stripping bark from tree trunks.

Tree guards can be made of plastic, metal, burlap or paper depending on the type of protection you need.

The paper tree protector is an ideal choice for heat insulation and protection against hot and cold weather. It can prevent rabbits and deer from trying to surround the baby tree.

raised garden bed

Use cardboard to make a spiral tree package, and cut it into long pieces 4 inches wide. Start at the bottom of the tree and wrap it around the trunk by overlapping each layer by 2 inches. Continue winding up until you reach the lower branch of the tree. Fix it in place with hemp rope.

Another option is to shape an independent tree guard by taking a large piece of cardboard and bending it into a wide tube around the trunk. There should be a few inches of space between the cardboard and the trunk.

Fix the ends of the pipes together with some waterproof tape. Driving a wooden stake on the ground between the tree trunk and the pipe can help to fix the cardboard cover in place.

Like the paper tree protector, cardboard packaging and protective devices can only last for one season. When they need to be replaced, they are thrown into the compost.

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