Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garbage for your garden

Bleatings from EnviRambo.

"Wait, don't throw that out! I can use that." Do you find yourself saying that? Often about things other people see as trash, and rightly so. By all accounts it is trash: cardboard boxes, newspaper, packing material. Garbage. Perfect for the garden. What? Garbage for the garden? That's right. Garbage for you garden.

Using "garbage" and the lasagna gardening method, you can go from this:


to this:


Start by laying down sheets of cardboard to kill the grass. Shipping boxes work great for this. Remove any tape or labels you can, break the boxes down to lay flat and overlap so no grass is showing. I like to layer several sheets of newspaper over this to cover any little gaps. You do not want any grass sneaking through! You can use newspaper alone if you do not have any cardboard available. The newspaper should be at least five sheets thick if you forgo the cardboard. Wet it all down to jump-start decomposition and keep the material from blowing around. Then add a layer of grass clippings or other "green" compost material on top. Next a layer of "brown". More newspaper, shredded office paper, leaves, wood chips, they all work well for this. Continue alternating layers until you have a two-foot tall pile. Keep the pile moist to aid the composting process. Leave this sit over the winter and come spring you will have nice-loose-nutrient-rich material to plant in.

middle door 9-29-09


Front flower beds 3/14/2010


I am not nearly that patient or organized. I tend to get an idea in my head one day and the next day set out to do it. I still do some layers, but add a thick layer of compost to immediately plant in. No digging, no removing sod, no crappy soil, just a fresh new garden in less than a day. I have four gardens created this way. They look great and require minimal weeding. My "traditional" garden, created by pulling sod, hand-digging, and a lot of hard work, looks like this:

Garden 5/31/2010

Yeah... anyone up for weeding?


Sense of Home said...

I definately use some of that kind of garbage, but in my compost pile. I am always short on browns, long on greens.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree about using trash for the garden! Here's some more ideas for other trash items that can be reused - http://getgreenbewell.com/2010/04/02/trash-your-garden/

Green Bean said...

We've sheet mulched all of our front yard and it was amazing how great the soil was! I'd never go back to the old way of gardening!

Simply Authentic said...

Great idea and explanation. It's nice to see posts explained well with basic information at times!! Especially since we're all in different stages....thank you!

Your intro made me laugh as my husband is always getting annoyed with me when I'm keeping all the packing that gets sent to us. But I just re-used 4 of those boxes to mail out care packages so he should have less complaining! ;) I also have used the same packing boxes for the last 9 years---and I've unfortunately moved every single one of those years. Our packing paper came from my parents military moves---with the last of those being almost 20 years ago. Cardboard and paper will def last for re-use if you store it well! :)


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