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Cardboard Method Inventor Tells All: No-Till Gardening Guide — The Grow Network Community
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Cardboard Method Inventor Tells All: No-Till Gardening Guide

ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Composting & Soil Fertility

Cardboard year after year in the same garden spots is not good due to other nasty cardboard ingredients. After two years of cardboard-floor, you should have enough viable soil to continue building the soil up with leaves & compost & woodchips etc.

I have done this two for decades, & how I can grow our yummy & Award-winning Veggies in just 2 inches of excellent fertility. You can as well.... 🙂


  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 469 ✭✭✭✭

    I just covered my compost trenches that I have in each bed with cardboard. I made them in different places in each bed this summer and then planted winter veggies in the summer compost trenches. My tomatoes grew like wild this summer until blight got them. Anyway, I covered them with cardboard b/c strangely I have gnats coming from the trenches that I didn't have this summer. Hoping for lots of worms after seeing the video.

  • I've used cardboard in my old, neglected, hard-packed flower beds and in the garden for the last couple of years. It's amazing how much it helps, and I do see earthworms where I didn't have them before. This past summer, I got a big load of free wood chip mulch, and covered all the cardboard with that.

    I have high hopes for much improved soil this spring!

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @kbmbillups1 & @Mary Linda Bittle Noticed that both of you, as well as most people are expecting... the soil to be 'magically Transformed like half a foot deep 🙂, or more' in only one year. When you look at the movie, Notice he put a single/thin layer of cardboard on Top (of already pretty good ground), AND the cardboard should be wet... before you add the leaves & compost & woodchips etc, because your worm friends need moisture to stay Alive under all those alternating layers of warm blankets... you put on top. -- Too, soil regeneration ((not Remineralizing covered in this discussion)) also takes time. Yes you can have results the next year because worms LOVE cardboard, but --like the forest-floor-- which you are mimicking this way, the FOREST-floor did not get this way in a single year either. It took year after year of continuous Organic build-UP..., for it to be as it is. - And why I added the caution, to only lay cardboard 1, or 2 at most years in the same place because in the making of the cardboard nasty ingredients are added that over time make the soil Toxic, Not what you either need nor want.

    And honest engine, in only 2 inches of Fertile soil - you can grow the most luscious Veggies & decorative flowers. I can tell you that for sure as I have done it, & Lord willing, I will continue... - AND I've posted many pictures of such here in TGN to that effect. A tomato-pix I showed somewhere here where the Tape-measure actually shows that Indeterminate Tomato plants grew UP close to the gutters of our house. And Cucumbers that are 22 inches long yet stay juicy & sweet - People who don't believe that, should try it. It is TRUE🤩

    You do NOT need to build Artificially raised beds either. Once the surgeon forced on me disability on left side, there was No way I was bothered. - So I did the Cardboard-trick, & Honest engine, the 4th. year I started presenting at the State fair, & you also saw a few of those photos already. - When I tell judges how I actually grow... everything, they hardly Believe the results... they just awarded Blue ribbons for. You know like my goodies here...

    plus continuing Rainbows YOU TOO CAN DO IT. Have Fun ! 🙂

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 300 ✭✭✭

    This cardboard (wet) method really does work wonders. Provides homes to thousands of microbes as well as worms, and truly allows plants to thrive.

  • Leslie CarlLeslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    I put down cardboard around all of my friend's fruit trees and kiwi vines last year, and then piled 4 inches of compost on top of that (keeping it away from the trunk of course). Then I planted 3-4 comfrey plants around each tree and vine and garlic closer in around the trunk. Also, some daikon radish under the plum and fig trees. Up to that point, the plants hadn't been producing any fruit and didn't look real healthy. Well, after the cardboard treatment with the helper plants, they perked right up, and actually produced some fruit! Even the little fig tree that started out at 6 inches, grew to 3 feet last year and we got to eat some small figs from it!

  • Chris A.Chris A. Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    Cardboard works great as well for problem weed areas around perimeter animal fences especially electric fences or woven fence that the weeds just love to climb up. If you put it under the fence and then cover with wood chips and/or shavings and keep it wet, it works pretty good. (Except if you have a donkey that likes to find things to play with ... more than once he has uncovered them to play with the cardboard and drag it around like a toy!)

    I am also doing this in an area that is rocky ... covering with cardboard, then shavings and wood chips just to build the soil so that I can plant trees and eventually herbs and other beneficials. It is an easy way to help build soil where there is none. One of the secrets is to keep it wet so that the microbes and worms can get their work done.

  • kbmbillups1kbmbillups1 Posts: 469 ✭✭✭✭

    @rainbow I'm not expecting the dirt in my garden to be transformed in a year. I've been working on it for several years now. I was just saying that the best garden I've had so far was this summer when I dug a trench and filled it with veggie scraps. My tomatoes grew like crazy! So, I made a trench in each of my winter beds to hopefully have the same effect. I ended up covering them with cardboard and yes it is very wet. We've had too much rain here. I was just hoping I'd end up with some worms.

  • bkpelfreybkpelfrey Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    I had already been looking in to using the cardboard method in my garden this year. I will see what happens.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    @Leslie Carl your description of companion planting with fruit trees sound so beautiful (and very helpful of course). I hope I remember this when I get around to planting my fruit trees.

    I have been using cardboard mulch for years. It does an excellent job in killing off grass and weeds without digging in new areas for planting.

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