Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Garden of Cardboard and Glue (a.k.a The Nature + Cardboard experiment)

So with the weather getting nicer and nicer every day as we move into spring, I'm less and less inclined to work on my indoor projects.  The living room design is almost complete, but I won't be ripping it apart and redoing it until mid to late summer.

Don't fret though! I still have many wonderful and amazing uses and projects to share as I experiment with them.

So this is the first year in several that I have gotten around to starting seedlings in time and managed to not kill them. Hooray!  In fact, at this point I think I have about 22 tomato plants...not sure what to do with all of them but that's for another day...

I wanted to try some vertical planting this year for several reasons.  The first is that my neighborhood is plagued with bunnies who eat all my lettuce. The second is that even though I have a large lot, not much of it is suitable or desirable for carving out a vegetable garden, thus leaving the plot I have quite compact.

I had already made trellises and plan on using a lot of makeshift Topsy Turvey-ish planters for the tomatoes and peppers. Through my pinteresting I've been seeing TONS of these awesome vertical planters made from rain gutters. (Like this cool looking one here)

Now it would have cost around $40 to make the gutter planters, so not too bad, but I like free.

This is the beginning of the project, but those planters are made of cardboard (lightly coated with a bit of spray paint). There's a hole in the very bottom for drainage.  I filled them about 1/3 of the way with drainage rocks, then soil the rest of the way.  I'll be finishing that row and staggering another row below it.  If they work out well enough I'll probably put up even more. 

Now of course, you're thinking...this is going to fall apart, right?  Well...they might, but I'm about 95% confident they will last the entire season and then I will be able to compost them.

Speaking of compost...another one of my favorite uses for cardboard is to use as the brown matter in my compost bin!

Just shred it up then throw some dirt on top, some food scraps, stir and cover!  (This is my makeshift compost bin made from a large Rubbermaid bin.  Simply drilled some upper and lower holes for aeration and drainage.)

Don't want to bother with composting?  Hate weeds creeping up around your young seedlings?  How about cardboard planters?  I transplanted my seedlings into these little boxes (5" cubes) when they were ready to be thinned.  The beauty is that you can carefully remove the tape on the bottom and just plant them straight into the ground!  Nature will eventually take care of the cardboard (and by the way, worms love cardboard...good happy worm poop makes the best soil!) but while the cardboard is still there it will act as a barrier to weeds. I call that a win-win!

I think my garden is off to a good start this year and I'm excited to see how all my new planters work out for me! Here's to hoping for yummy stuff all summer long!

Happy crafting!

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