Carton is easily biodegradable and can be recycled. It is also possible to use this packaging material in compost-making. Gardeners and aspiring permaculturists will know that carton sheets are used in a gardening process called sheet mulching. This practice smothers weeds, builds soil, and conserves water. It combines cardboard with compost to make organic garden beds.
What is sheet mulching?
Sheet mulching is a great first step for those who wish to convert their lawns into a natural ecosystem. It is a low-cost and organic way to revive a patch of soil. Using non-toxic cartons is definitely a prerequisite when you are implementing sheet mulching in your garden. This technique integrates composting directly into your gardening process. You can use it to create new planting beds. Our collaborators at Le Vélo Vert use Dakri Cartons’ cardboard sheets for this practice in their gardens. The pictures below are a great example of how Le Vélo Vert implements sheet mulching in the process. Some planters also use sheet mulching on their vegetable beds during the fallow season.
Preparing your gardening beds
Have a good amount of cardboard sheets at your disposal. They should be free of toxic materials (such as tape, ink and glossy finish). Soak the cardboard in water. Using a wheelbarrow filled with water can be helpful, as you will need to conveniently transport the soaked sheets to different spots of the garden. As the cardboard sheets are left to soak, mow the area that you wish to cultivate. This will flatten the gardening beds and prevent any levelling irregularity.
Combining cardboard with organic mulch
The next step is to properly water the mowed area, and scatter soil improvers such as gypsum (if the soil is clayey), or clay (if soil is sandy). You may also use manure, or compost of any grade. We advise you to use worm castings and lawn clippings. The more organic material, the better. Then, fetch your wheelbarrow and lay the cardboard thickly over the area that you have prepared. Overlay the soaked cardboard generously. After this process, spread out your organic mulch over the cardboarded area. If you wish to grow vegetables and fruits, privilege strawy mulch. Sugarcane straw, for example, has high levels of nitrogen, which is beneficial to food crops.
Sheet mulching is also called lasagna gardening. Indeed, when you are using this technique, you overlay organic materials to create a conducive substrate for your future garden. As with delicious lasagna, you can layer the mulch and cardboard as much as you want to give rich goodness to your vegetable patch.