While back in Portland for a month-long visit with friends and family, I’ve had the chance to help set up a few small gardens. Here in these photos, I’m showing Trinity how to make a planter box using some found materials that were sitting on the back porch: a shopping basket and some shipping cardboard. She already had one small pot with a few sunflower seedling and another small pot with some bean plants. In both case, an upgrade to a bigger space was needed.
We used a large glass jar to scoop up dirt into the box, after lining the inside surface of the shopping basket with aerated cardboard. Then after transplanting the sunflower and bean plants into the planter box, we ripped up a bunch of cardboard to apply as a mulch cover. There was also some burlap nearby underneath some shrubs.
One thing a small box like this can do, is to quickly energize the house and flip the permacultural “ON” switch for the house. The use of recycled materials such as cardboard as a mulch layer helps us to see everyday materials in a more alchemical light. We can easily start to view what we previously thought of as a waste material as something which protects and generates new soil and starts the cycle of long-term ecological fertility within our own home environment. Sunflowers and climbing beans are also a great potential guild.