The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Waste cardboard as mulch

cardboard and gardening

Old cardboard boxes have found a place in our forest gardening plans as a cheap source of mulch.

We save all our household cardboard and then get a decent amount from our chicken waterer business, but it wasn't enough for Anna, and back in the winter she started wondering where we could get more.

I went around to several local retail stores and found out there is a new policy where stores pack up their discarded boxes and ship it all back to the original warehouse. That put a crimp in our cardboard mulching plans until Kenneth, the super nice maintenance man at the local school where we tried our worm experiment asked if we could use any "pasteboard", which is what some folks call cardboard around this area.

They had a truckload and I started getting more each time I went to pick up the food scraps for the worm bin. I'm not sure what other places do with their waste cardboard, but it might be a good source of mulch if you have a school in your neighborhood.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We get our cardboard from stores that sell alcohol -- they always have a ton of it. If you're in a dry area, one of my friends gets hers from a store that sells pianos (and the boxes are HUGE).
Comment by Eliza @ Appalachian Feet Wed May 11 09:17:47 2011
Those are great ideas! For us, proximity is more important than quality since we'd have to drive a long way to find a furniture store. Our closest town only has a school, post office, dollar store, gas station, and hardware store, and the school seems to be the best cardboard option among them. However, it might be worth scoping out the liquor store in the next town over --- we have to go there to go to the grocery store, so it's in our stomping grounds.
Comment by anna Wed May 11 10:50:08 2011

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