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Garden expert warns others not to throw away garbage that makes great gardening material: 'This is your reminder not to throw it out'

"I knew I was saving it for a reason."

"I knew I was saving it for a reason."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Do you have extra cardboard boxes laying around? You can give them a new life in your garden beds.

The scoop

In a TikTok video, Gardenary (@gardenary) suggested using leftover cardboard as the first layer in your garden.

"If you've got extra cardboard laying around this season, this is your reminder not to throw it out but to save it in order to make new planting beds," she said.

@gardenary Save your cardboard and make a garden instead! #kitchengardenrevival #gardendesign #gardenideas #gardening101 #gardenproject #kitchengarden #gardener #sustainablegarden #nativeplant #nativegarden #wildlifehabitat ♬ original sound - Gardenary

"Cardboard makes an excellent first layer. … It suppresses weeds and will slowly degrade," she added. "... It's worked great!"

If you're preparing new garden beds, simply break down your old boxes; wet them; and add compost, mulch, and soil. Be sure to remove any tape, ink, and labels from the boxes, as they do not break down as easily.

How it's helping

No need to purchase landscaping fabric, which is often expensive and bad for the environment — just use your old boxes. Cardboard is an inexpensive and eco-friendly option for your garden's first layer. It acts as a physical barrier, suffocating any weeds beneath it and discouraging larger pests from passing through.

Plus, since cardboard is made mostly from paper fibers, the cardboard will break down over time. This is a good thing — it'll add nutrients to your soil. By repurposing cardboard in your garden, you'll not only recycle waste but also enrich and protect your soil and plants. It's a win-win.

Like cardboard is good for your garden, gardening is good for you. Spending time in the garden has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, increase feelings of happiness and belonging, and even reduce your risk of developing diseases, such as dementia. Additionally, it can be an excellent form of exercise and relaxation.

Ready to branch out into gardening? Our guide will help you grow your own food.

What everyone's saying

In the video, Gardenary shared that they were using cardboard for "new pollinator and native plant spaces." Users were eager for results, saying, "[I] cannot wait to see what this turns into!" 

Others were excited to utilize cardboard in their own gardens. "Thank you so much! I knew I was saving it for a reason," one user said.

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