I’ve chosen to do something different this summer.
Re-do my “forest’s pathways” and improve the soil for Fall’s planting instead of concentrating on just on summer (tropical) vegetables. Yes, I’m doing it my way.
I’ve used corrugated cardboard – old wine cartons, appliance packaging, good thick brown cardboard from recycling dumpsters – cut them open, carpeted the paths, then wait for the afternoon rain (a common occurrence in Florida).
No red carpet… just plain return of tree material to soil.
A closer look at my handiwork …
Cardboard weed barrier
Covered with pine needles
They will look like natural forest paths in a couple of weeks and it hasn’t cost a cent! OK, they may need re-doing in a couple of years but it will give me time to re-plan and perhaps even re-design the pathways depending on the height of the in-ground trees and perennial edibles, as time passes.
I, with my simple vocabulary range, will just call it re-using. How about that?
Yes, I have found some of those discarded plastic containers of great use and they can be used multiple times too. Be it the Paris Agreement or Global Warming concerns, it is just my nano contribution to slowing down the flow to the recycling plant.
Apart from the general hose-watering, I use this method to water slow and deep in areas which do not get rained on – keeps my Daikon & Carrots happy. 🙂
Feeding liquid seaweed fertilizer this way gets it right where it’s needed. No spraying around causing soil-splatter on leaves.
These bottles have been in my possession and used for over 2 years yet they are still in very good condition.
To start seeds in winter, even the not-so-chilly Florida winter, I would still need a greenhouse-of-sort. I don’t have seeding lights, warm mats and other expensive stuff avid gardeners use. I use supermarkets’ salad containers which I call green-boxes.
My seeding “boxes” – (R) is box with lid 4″ high & (L) is box over box 8″ high.
You can start with boxes in their original form – box & lid, but as the seedlings get taller, the lid can be peeled off (for next use, again as lids ) and another box can be used as cover giving the plants growing space. These boxes are 4″ high so with 2 boxes together (see pic above; left item) seedlings can happily stay there longer.
With so much re-planting going on, as in my last post, I’ve decided to see if I can create a micro-climate cool zone, induce germination and (hopefully) the growth of a plant which grows in zone 8 or cooler. I’m in zone 9b/10.
In June, I received a present from a sweet Facebook friend in West Virginia (Zone 5b-6a) ~ yes, she sent me some fresh Pawpaw seeds! (BTW, Pawpaw in the US is Asimina triloba and not Papaya as what Pawpaw is, in Australia). Now that got me thinking … so I decided to stratify them, put them in the fridge, give them a period of cold (40o F/4o C) for 4-5 months, try to “make them comfortable” in hope of breaking their dormancy.
Fresh, clean Pawpaw seeds.
Florida has just experienced her first cold front this week, it means winter is forthcoming and cool weather, ideal for Pawpaw seed germination, calls for some action, right? I had already done some information gathering and know that Pawpaw seedlings will develop long tap roots so I decided I’d do some recycling instead of buying expensive tree seedling cell-pots.
My style of deep cell-pot begins with the cutting of a bottle-cap to allow water drainage but not soil/potting mix loss.
Bottle cap cuts
Then cutting the base off a small water bottle; screw the cap back on and fill the bottle with seeding/potting mix.
Filled with potting mix up to 1″ from top
Right now, I am a busy Cardboard Hunter a.k.a. Dumpster Diver. Those dump bins used by stores, emptied by forklifts are so huge and deep, it’s really quite a feat trying to get discarded cardboard boxes out of there (& not fall in). Slow and steady … hey! I’m just helping to recycle …
My 2nd retrieved batch
It’s summer and with Florida’s seasonal downpour, I’ve found it’s the best time to “re-pave” my pathways. Yes, I use cardboard as sheet-mulch as it is biodegradable, blocks weeds and allows me to do my part in recycling.
Pathway cardboard mulched.
~ then covered with hay
Hay, hay, hay it’s magic ♫
Now, to wait for tomorrow’s rain before I walk all over it in rubber boots to “shape” it.
Oh, and I use cardboard low boxes as biodegradable raised beds too. They blend in, disintegrate, become soil and my plants can’t tell the difference.
Seedlings in their temporary raised beds.
Oops! By coincidence I saw Jennifer Nichole Wells’ site so I’m joining in the fun.
One Word Photo Challenge: Cardboard
We tried, we really did … We’ve built & rebuilt all kinds of contraptions in hope of outsmarting those darn squirrels from devouring food meant for the birds and the outright destruction of several of our bird feeders.
The last contraption was from a thriftstore dismantled, cut up and built into what we hope would be squirrel proof.
It saw, came to investigate…
Walked all around it …
I bought this strange looking thing today at a thrift store and kept wondering what on earth it is/could have been. After over an hour toying with it on our front porch, hubby & I decided to just cut it up (it’s actually way tougher than it looks) and use it to build what is needed. Yes, it got recycled.
1 of the remnant pieces ended in the back patio as a mini-tool holder.
They will be washed by the rain forecasted for tonight.
The main project was “built” in the garage and put to the test in the front yard.
A “cage” over the bird feeder!
On the sides are the wired squares and the crucial part with vertical wires are next to the feed holes. Will it work? Only 1 way find out …
Update of my contribution to Recycling ♲
“We’re ready! We’re ready! screamed the corn seedlings silently and to show me they meant business, they stuck their roots out through the papier-mâché “tray-cups” like a toddler would stick his legs out of a crib.
Healthy, thick roots have penetrated the seeding “cups”.
The recycled “tray cups” were moistened thoroughly before being split up into individual pieces and placed in planting holes semi-filled with composted manure, some Epsom Salt and homemade potting mix.
Into the soil they went.
My new corn strip consisting of 2 rows.
So there they are now, the recycled “cups” holding and supporting the young corn seedlings partially mulched with hay. Soon they will disintegrate and biodegrade, feed the earthworms, micro-organisms and whatever living beings there which find recycled paper deliciously edible, then back to becoming part of the soil again.
Why buy seed starter pots when there is plenty one can use for free? They have served their original purpose and will often be discarded or thrown into a recycle bin. Well, I guess I’m a nano-recycle center of sort. Egg trays, fruit protectors, toilet roll cores … those made from papier-mâché, I will readily, gratefully welcome with open arms.
My corn seedlings, in their seeding tray, ready to go into the soil in a couple of days. The toilet roll core with gourd seeds need more days for germination but …
My papier-mâché seeding tray with corn seedlings.
some pumpkin seedlings have already rooted in soil – their paper “holders” beneath soil level have now disintegrated and are part of the soil blend.
Pumpkin seedling taken root in soil
This is my small contribution to Recycling.