Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Newspapers Recycled in the Garden.

For the past 5 years or so, we have been recycling our old newspapers in the Vege Garden. I saw this once on a TV show and have been using this method for weed prevention in the rows successfully ever since.

The photo above shows where I placed the newspapers down in the garden late last fall. I raked backed the leaves to reveal only a tiny bit of newspaper that remains. (The grey blobs in the middle of the pic.) This spring, I had no weeds to remove in the area of the garden where I used the newspapers under the leaf mulch.

After removing any weeds and turning the soil in the garden, with my trusty, red with pink polka dotted pitch fork. ( Which is missing a prong.)

I begin to place the newspaper down in the rows of the garden. I have since read where they news paper should be at least 5 layers deep to work well. I never count, I just start placing newspaper down, overlapping the layers as I go down the row.

If it is windy, you could take the time to wet down the newspaper before placing in the garden to keep it from blowing away to your neighbors yard.

I sometime get distracted and read things I have missed in the newspaper.

Like the names of who is winning the March madness bracket contest in the local paper.
( FYI- My pics came in 5th overall in points. Not that I like watching basketball on TV, the squeaking of the shoes gets on my nerves.)

I continue down the row, and realize it is a little crooked. That will not matter once all the veges begin to grow.

Oh....The red with pink polka dotted pitch fork? I bet you are wondering......

You see sometimes my husband uses our garden tools at his work sites. In the past, these tools have been lost, forever gone. This made me very angry, until I was painting and had left over paint and thought our garden tool handles needed painting, then thought that if I painted the garden tool handles, girly like... A man would not bring them to his work site and if he did, no other man would even think of "borrowing" such girly looking tools. So far, so good. It has worked.

I then start placing the mulch on top of the newspapers. In the past I have used pinestraw and leaves as mulch. We did not have enough leaves this year to use as mulch and we do not have a big pine trees at this house, so we had to buy (shudder) mulch. (gulp) Chris suggested wheat straw. We will see how that goes. I hate having to buy what so many people place out by the curb. I want to be the weird lady who goes around collecting other peoples leaves. The piles of leaves they place out by the street for the city to pick up and place in a land fill. People use your leaves as mulch.

I place the straw, haw, leaves, pinestraw, mulch on top of the newspapers.

Then I remember, I found a magnifying glass in the garden and placed it on top of the straw.
Probably not a good idea. Fires start that way. oops. Luckily, I do not know about that first hand, I just saw where that happened once on Little House on the Prairie. I was 7.

I keep going until I finish the entire garden. Or at least a good stopping point.

Then I plant my little plants.



( I also have planted okra and tomatoes.)

The newspapers will allow water to seep through while aiding in keeping weeds out of the garden making our life easier in a few months.

These newspapers are also being recycled in our yard. Not being transported to a recycling center or being placed in a landfill.

Life is good.

Now... to figure out how to pick up the neighbors leaves by the curb next fall with out being the crazy leaf collecting lady.


Wishing our planet a


1916home.net said...

Great idea! Im starting my garden soon and will use this info :) We have tons of newspapers at my work I can bring home instead of tossing in the trash.

StuccoHouse said...

Hey, I do the same thing :-) You might just ask your neighbors if you can have their leaves. I know if someone asked me for some of mine, I'd do a little dance of joy (I have way too many to ever use in my own yard & compost bin).

Jennifer said...

I'm planning on doing something similar, with a layer of compost between the straw and newspaper. Sounds like a good method!

modernemama said...

Super ideas - the newspaper and the girly tools!

(BTW the captcha word is "fecknet". Isn't that a great curse word? Oh fecknet, who's borrowed my shovel!)

Lee said...

One year I drove around the neighborhood in my truck loading up the leaves that folks had so neatly bagged and put at the curb. My compost runneth over.

Joanne said...

I tried the newspaper trick for the first time last summer, and it really works well! We didn't have a single weed in our flower beds.

Jen said...

1916- This really works well.

Stucco House- I almost did ask the neighbors, But I felt weird, so I didn't. Next fall, I will get up the nerve.

Modernemama- Fecknet is a good word. LOL

Lee- I posted a pic just for you. ;).

Green Fairy- I need to place newspapers under the mulch in the flower beds too. Right now, I do not have enough paper. Newspapers are much smaller today, and the Atlanta Journal is not available here anymore.

Amalie said...

Adam and I are planning on doing this, too-- we'll use newspaper in place of a plastic liner, since we have some stubborn ajuga where we want to plant. Then we've been cultivating some awesome compost, so we'll do a solid layer of that between the paper and our half decomposed leaves. We're also hoping that some of the dry leaves in the compost will eliminate the need for any peat in our soil...

Jen said...

Jennifer- You will be so happy when you can enjoy the garden with out any weeds. Or almost any weeds.

Amalie- I had to google ajuga.
We have good soil in our yard.
Alot of properties have red clay in these parts. So I have been lucky by not having to add much to the soil before planting. YAY!.

Good Luck to everyone and their gardens.

Why S? said...

Excellent Earth Day post.

From now on, whenever I hear about angry mobs with pitchforks chasing down AIG execs, I will imagine you in the crowd with your polka-dotted fork.

Anonymous said...

Love this post, Jenni. Great idea for reusing newspapers--and for keeping your tools around for when you need them.

(I totally agree about the basketball shoe squeaks--eek!)

Jen said...

Bbliss- Thanks, I know, The sound of BasketBall shoes squeaking, is amplified 1000% on TV.

Why S? - Now, I am seeing in my mind all mobs carrying all sorts of colorful pitchforks and garden tools.

Bungalow in the Hollow said...

My mom was telling me about the newspaper trick recently. We are going to mulch the area in front of our house this weekend. I am going to have to try this! I will let you know how it goes. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The ‘newsprint paper’ part of newspapers does make an excellent mulch and weed deterrent. The colored ink and the chemicals from the glossy printed parts (usually inserts) can be harmful to the plants and shouldn’t be used in the garden.

Jen said...

BITH- Good Luck with your garden.

Anony-Thanks for bringing up that part. Some inserts even have staples. I do use color printed newsprint, some people do not, but more and more of the actual newsprint is color now. However I never use the more glossy insert papers. I wish the advertisers would not use that.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I never count the number of sheets of newspaper I use as weed barrier in my garden either.

Bonus talking point. One of the papers I used featured an article about a friend. I can honestly tell him that he's buried in my yard :)

Marion said...

Perfect idea, and a great reminder, but my favorite part is your brave confession that sometimes you get distracted and start to read yesterday's news. Hilarious.