Cardboard Mulch in Your Survival Garden?

You’ve heard the slogan, “Recycle, reduce, reuse.” Every survival gardener practices it regularly when composting and mulching. Have you thought of mulching with cardboard?

There’s more cardboard in your everyday life than you might realize. You no doubt get plenty of it when ordering products by mail. Of course, supermarkets and other businesses have plenty of it because of all the boxes they get from incoming products.

Think of the holidays, especially around Christmas. You may get enough cardboard and packaging from gifts to mulch a 50 by 50 foot garden–if you choose to use it that way.

People are discovering cardboard makes excellent mulch and is much more compact than hay.

But some say there’s a down side to cardboard mulch. No, it’s not the fact that most cardboard isn’t labeled “This side up.” The cardboard doesn’t care which is the up or down side in your garden.

Seriously though, the problem arises when comparing hay with cardboard. Hay replenishes the soil as it decomposes. On the other hand, cardboard has little fertilizer value.

However, that’s actually not the problem you might think. Dr. Elaine Ingham says “There is enough fertility in all American soils to grow plants for hundreds of years.”

What a staggering thought.

Our natural reaction is probably to question that. Could there really be enough fertility in the soil to grow plants for hundreds of years?

Why not? Could there be something we’re overlooking?

The catch is in releasing nutrient value through the action of soil biota, bacteria and allied life. By shielding the soil from the impact of rain and helping to retain the moisture, cardboard helps to keep the soil porous and open to the transfer of oxygen to aerobic life forms which support plant growth.

Are you feeling the rising of cardboard mulch mania yet?

And we haven’t even mentioned newspaper. Who doesn’t have enough cardboard or newspaper? Why don’t we start to use it on our gardens, as in Lasagna Gardening.

As for cardboard mulching–and all mulching, for that matter–fall is a great time to lay down mulch as it prevents compaction of the soil so it is ready for planting in the spring. Plus in the fall you have an abundance of leaves and other stuff to use.

Imagine little or no digging in the spring because the soil has been protected all fall and winter. There won’t be weeds where you’ve mulched either.

Watch the short video below for more on mulching with cardboard.



To explore lasagna gardening’s possibilities, click on the title Lasagna Gardening where you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where the book is featured, and you can order it from there.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

3 thoughts on “Cardboard Mulch in Your Survival Garden?”

  1. I think this is a great use for such a common part of your lives. My father in law has used cardboard in his mulch the past few years and hasn’t had a problem with it.

  2. I understand you can start mulching, including with cardboard, at any time of the year. Someone said, concerning soil texture when protected from direct rain, compare your yard with the soil under a porch. Protected soil is loose and allows more circulation of air, as you said.This is a great article and videos.

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