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This year the tomato plants didn't grow much and we had very few tomatoes. Shredded leaves are an old standby that never goes out of style. Help! Merits of a shredded newspaper mulch March 12, 1982 By Peter Tonge; Weymouth, Mass. After all, not all paper is good mulch material. How To Shred Newspaper For Compost. I have been thinking about collecting it and composting it. Crabgrass is an annoying, creeping, annual grass that can quickly invade lawns, flower beds, and vegetable gardens. However, if you have a large amount of paper, this is a great way to recycle it and improve the soil structure in your garden. You can also call local recycling centers to see if you can take home recycled stacks before they are shredded. Unlike corporate website companies, the authors on this website regularly use many of the tips and recommendations provided in their own garden and lawncare. You can use the paper for mulch or you can compost it! However, if you have clay soil, it may exacerbate drainage issues. Why Use Paper Mulch? Newspaper is a vital ingredient in vermicomposting, and provides the bulk, carbon, and moisture retention needed to support a worm farm. Non-shredded newspaper is the opposite; its main benefit is weed control, with some moisture retention. We had to sort everything because people consistently disrespected the process and put everything from garbage to metal cans in the newspaper. It is also a material that can cause many problems if it is not prepared properly. Bark mulches are best used around trees, shrubs, and in garden beds where you won’t be … Shredded paper can also be used as mulch, but will need to be weighed down with a heavier mulch to keep it from blowing away. A thick layer of mulch on top of the soil preserves moisture, suppresses weed growth, and can even add nutrients to the soil all year long. So, as you lay down newspaper, try poking holes with a pitchfork to help with absorption. Examples provided of tested products are actual products owned, tested, and used regularly by the author. Thriving Yard is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earn a commission on qualifying purchases. Shredded paper also provides warmth, protection, and nutrients for the plant’s roots. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. A wet mixture like this is sometimes called hydroseed, and you can mix in not only seed and the paper, which serves as a kind of mulch, but … This can be done very easily with an inexpensive home paper shredder. As they digest it, they excrete castings that will eventually settle in the bottom of the worm bin. Most of us have too much junk mail, receive too many magazines… in short, we have a ton of paper around the house that we throw away or burn (or if you read David the Good , compost! Sure you can! Wait until the new plants in your garden are about 5 inches tall. In fact, one study revealed that paper had less toxic material than straw or grass! Keep the paper at least 2 inches away from plant, shrub and tree bases. Shred black and white newspapers, ripping them from top to bottom into 1- to 2-inch strips. An easy test is to wipe your finger across some black text. This site is a participant in affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates and earns from qualifying purchases. Recycling newspaper helps in many aspects of sustainability. The purpose of mulch is to prevent evaporation, and to gradually add organic matter into the topsoil. The thicker the layer, the less chance seeds have of sprouting. Shredded paper, for the most part, can be used as mulch. However, thicker layers make it harder for water to penetrate. You can also use a box cutter to cut through multiple sheets at one time. Chopped or shredded newspaper is an effective mulch between rows of vegetables. Q. I'm a devoted fan of your show looking for composting advice. Another way to make your own mulch is to use a wood chipper. Newspaper mulch insulates the ground and slightly lowers the soil temperature, so wait until the soil temperature has reached at 73 degrees Fahrenheit or higher before spreading chopped or shredded newspaper … Vermicomposting is a compost process that uses red wiggler worms to breakdown organic material. El Borak at Men of the West has posted a good article on using shredded paper as mulch: Most gardeners who use raised beds quickly fall in love with mulches. This is one great way to turn really weedy soil in to great garden soil. Using Newspaper as Mulch for the Vegetable Garden Using newspaper as mulch for the vegetable garden is a much cheaper version of buying wood chips or hay from a big-box store. It is then that the soil is warm enough for mulch application. She has an A.A.S. Your best free source will be your place of work and friends. Shredded newspaper is great at retaining moisture of the soil, especially at the root ends, It forms a light layer but can act as one of the most popular organic mulches in the garden. If you are only using newspaper in a few small areas, you may be able to weigh it down with rocks. So, how you shred your newspaper will ultimately depend on how you intend to use it. There are a number of models available under $40, and it will more than pay for itself when you consider how much you can save on mulch after a year or two of using this method! Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. After spreading out the shredded paper, cover it with compost or other mulch to keep the paper from blowing away. Product recommendations not personally owned are based on the author’s knowledge of the company, product, reliability, and reputation. When using newspaper sheets, place a layer of two or three sheets between plant rows in the garden. Shredded newspapers or telephone books are good paper choices for composting or digging into soil directly. Plus, the newspaper will attract earthworms, which will help the overall health and nutrition of your soil. The greater the surface area of organic material, the more opportunities microbes will have to break it down. Mulch should be two to three inches thick, and last up to a year. You can effectively use a newspaper weed barrier on loamy or sandy soils. So should I add paper? I've long advocated the use of newspaper (black-ink pages only) mulches in the … http://www.waysandhow.com Subscribe to Waysandhow: https://goo.gl/RK2SbN Looking for mulch for your garden? Essentially, smaller pieces equal quicker breakdown. Apropos newspaper mulch and tomatoes - add shredded paper to the trench in which you will plant tomatoes. As worms feed on green material, they pull it down into the bedding. It's just as effective at maintaining soil temperatures, suppressing weed growth and conserving water as other more expensive types of mulch. We used to collect newspaper from major and minor newspapers around Vermont and shredded them and put that material though a John Deere bailer to make bales of mulch for dairy farmers. For more information on improving soil structure or clay soils, check out our other articles on best soil practices. Many gardening websites recommend adding shredded paper to your compost pile. If the bin is maintained properly, you will have usable compost within a few months. Not add paper? Yes, shredded newspapers or whole sheets may be used as mulch in the vegetable garden. Newspaper is a brown, or carbon-based organic material, so you should incorporate it in the brown layers in your pile. Composting paper or cardboard is best done by shredding it and then mixing it with leaves or grass clippings. In this video, I show you how to compost shredded paper to make rich, fertile, plant food and soil improver. paper mulch In the list of mulch materials for in and around your vegetable garden, paper and cardboard rank pretty close to the top of the list. Newspaper helps maintain moisture levels in a compost pile, so it is a great addition for piles in dry climates. Shredded newspaper makes a fine mulch. Sydney has over 15 years of experience in lawn maintenance, landscape design, and organic gardening. It produces small quantities of highly nutritious compost known as castings. However, there are still some quick guidelines you will need to follow in order to get the best possible results. The first method, is to shred the newspaper. Simply lay down sheets of newspaper on bare soil where you do not want any seeds to germinate. You'll need about 25 to 50 pounds for every 100 square feet. Put your old newspapers to good use by recycling them as mulch for the garden. Most large companies and shredding services cannot sell or give away shredded paper due to security concerns. This technique, whilst making the most of your shredded waste, can also reduce the chances of over-watering. First, pull weeds from the area, and then place the mulch around the plants. Newspaper improves structure in finished compost. Feb 25, 2019 - Can you compost shredded paper? Most shredded paper will be fine in compost. Q: My office produces a lot of shredded paper. A light watering afterward will keep the paper from blowing around and also act to keep it together as a matted layer of mulch. Vermicomposting should not smell, and it’s even possible to build bins that fit under the kitchen sink for easy recycling of kitchen scraps. Bark. If you are getting shredded paper from an office setting, it should be fine. As paper decomposes, it also adds organic matter to the topsoil. It keeps unnecessary waste from landfills, decreases the amount of garbage you have to manage, and increases the health of your garden. Spread shredded paper on top of your plant beds or around trees, giving plant stems and tree trunks a bit of space between them and the paper. Mulch is used to retain water, even out … However, heavily-inked pages, construction paper, glossy paper, and any other specialty paper either won’t decompose properly, or may be harmful to your compost pile. This can help avoid anaerobic conditions, but may also cause an uneven moisture layer if the paper is not spread evenly throughout the pile. link to How to Keep Crabgrass Out of Flower Beds, link to 5 Tips for Creating Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Flower Beds. In the end, you have to overlap newspapers, while ensuring that there remain no gaps between the sheets of newspaper. Shredded newspaper may also be used under other mulches in … However, if you are using it in a large area, you will probably need to put a layer of mulch on top. Because newspaper retains moisture, it is a useful material for mulch. Because newspaper retains moisture, it is a useful material for mulch. Stop scratching your head trying to decide what type of mulch to use in your garden. As an added bonus, you might also impress your neighbors with your gardening know-how and ingenuity. Passing newspaper through a standard paper shredder is ideal. Do not use glossy or colored pages. The plant’s roots absorb water from this layer and allow the produce to thrive. Overlap the pieces to completely block out all the sunlight from the ground. Replace cardboard if any weeds show through. Can You Use Shredded Paper As Mulch? The smaller the size, the quicker it will decompose. This does not negate the benefits of using newspaper as a weed barrier. Thriving Yard is a privately owned website. Mulch should be two to three inches thick, and last up to a year. Lush, colorful flower beds increase curb appeal while attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. If your finger has a black residue, it is likely petroleum ink. The paper will prevent weeds, and the mulch will help with bulk and moisture. Soil has many properties, and compost can improve them all. When using either of these materials for compost they need to be shredded other-wise they will compress and stifle the heap. Apply any necessary fertilizer and work it into the soil before laying the shredded newspaper. As far as shredded paper robbing nitrogen from the soil, as a top layer this doesn’t really happen. What about shredded newsprint?--Marianne in New York, New York Except for colored and glossy paper, which might contain some toxic heavy metals, newsprint and other paper is safe to use as mulch or in compost. But I would like to recommend a mulch you’ve probably never heard of: shredded paper. Cover the shreds with yard prunings, and cover that with cardboard after a good soaking. The process is straightforward. When composting, shred newspaper as thin as possible to speed up decomposition. ). If not, it’s probably soy. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. To improve the overall appearance of the garden, you can apply a thin layer of a more attractive mulch on top. Aim for a thickness of 5-10 sheets, and wet it down as you go. You can capture the shredded leaf mulch as it comes out of the leaf shredder and store it in a wheelbarrow or other collection bin until you are ready to use it. Cover the newspaper with a 1 inch layer of grass clippings. You will want to watch out for staples and plastic windows on envelopes that may have been shredded, but even a minimal amount of these can be sorted out of finished compost as you use it. West Virginia University Extension Service: Recycling Newspaper for Mulch in Home Gardens. A solid layer of shredded newspaper may form a sheet that prevents water and oxygen from moving through the pile, so mixing it with shredded leaves or twigs will help balance the pile and speed up the decomposition of those tougher materials. Lay the shredded paper so it is between 2 and 4 inches thick. Newspapers use organic inks so gardeners need not worry about lead contamination. Now, even if it is petroleum based, many studies show that the toxicity is negligible, and likely does not affect finished compost. A little elbow grease and a lot of paper weights can help transform the Classifieds section into something that is actually useful. Shredded newspaper makes a fine mulch. You can also buy shredding scissors for small amounts of paper. This will slow down decomposition enough for it to successfully retain moisture. You can put leaves, grass, pine bark mulch or whatever you like to look at that is organic and will break down over winter. I just got done … Newspaper will have different uses in your garden depending on how, or if, it is shredded. Begin laying out the pieces or layers of newspaper. The first option you can use shredded paper for is as packing material. There are several drawbacks to using newspaper as mulch: Ultimately, using newspaper as a mulch will require a lot of work. Now, with a larger focus on sustainable practices, most inks are made with soy. However, it also pulls moisture away from other organic materials as they decompose (source). in Landscape Design/Organic Produce Production from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. Spread the shredded leaf mulch on top of vegetable garden beds and flower beds around the plants. Many people use shredded non-glossy paper in mulch or compost, where it typically degrades in a single season. Shredded newspaper primarily helps with preventing evaporation, with an added side effect of weed control. Tearing or ripping them by hand will work, but may take longer to break down. So, if you have relatively healthy soil structure, using newspaper as a weed barrier may make more sense. Think of putting a shredded leaf mulch layer on the ground soil for decomposing under the papers. Hilling Potatoes. The newspaper can be food for the mind AND food for the soil! If you are concerned about the toxicity, you can always contact the newspaper publisher and ask for specifics on their ink. Learn which types of paper are safe for composting and which types to consider skipping. Will this work? Ask a recycling center or waste management facility if it gives shredded or chopped newspaper to the public. If you have large amounts of newspaper, you will want to make sure you are adding nutrient-dense green materials to balance out your finished compost. As long as the paper is wet, the plant will have a sufficient supply. They decompose well when mixed with high nitrogen products such as manure. Mixing grass seed with shredded newspaper and other ingredients can really help grass seed thrive long-term. Use a leaf bin or paper bags to collect the shredded leaf mulch. Avoid using glossy or colored shredded paper, since it won’t break down readily and may contain materials that aren’t good for the soil. I'm concerned that the ink on printed paper contains chemicals, and I won't have a truly organic compost come next spring. It is such a prolific nuisance that there are multiple sprays and chemical control... 5 Tips for Creating Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Flower Beds. The beans growing in non-mulched areas performed better. There are a variety of options for bins, but almost all of them will require newspaper bedding. This used to be a concern when inks were primarily petroleum based. The paper mulched soil remains moist into the following year. The paper blocks out the light that plants need for photosynthesis (the conversion of sunlight into sugar). ---Anne in Doylestown, PAA. Unfortunately, many people who give composting advice … Mulch helps improve the quality of the soil and can also help plants grow. The purpose of mulch is to prevent evaporation, and to gradually add organic matter into the topsoil. If you don’t have the time or patience to shred a garden’s worth of newspaper, I don’t blame you. Newspaper removes nitrogen from the soil and grass clippings adds it. Pack with It. In my experience, newspaper makes a better weed-suppressant than regular mulch alone. I mulch with shredded leaves because I have a stock pile of them. Using Shredded Paper as Mulch in the Vegetable Garden The last three years we have used shredded paper from my office as mulch in our vegetable garden. As an alternative, you can take advantage of shredded paper’s tendency to clump and mat by using it as a mulch instead of including it in compost. Melinda R. Cordell | September/October 2011. Remove weeds manually or use an appropriate herbicide. It's just as effective at maintaining soil temperatures, suppressing weed growth and conserving water as other more expensive types of mulch. Amazon has put together some great Home Holiday Guide Deals - save money and get your holiday shopping done! So, if you are planning on using newspaper for mulch, ripping or shredding it by hand will give the best results. If you want whole newspapers, ask local publishers if you can pick up unused copies or misprints. So, if you are planning on using newspaper for mulch, ripping or shredding it by hand will give the best results. Click Here to see the latest deals (link To Amazon). Employ landscape staples for keeping the sheets down if you want. Moisten the paper, add a handful of compost or soil, and top it with some green material. Newspaper is a versatile, beneficial material in your garden or landscape. Paper can even improve the health of your compost. She has also written for various online publications. Shredding Newspaper For Mulch. When grown in a barrel or grow bag, potatoes have to be hilled up by the addition … Composted wood chips make a fine mulch, too. Regardless of the style of bin you choose, you should fill it two-thirds of the way with shredded newspaper. You likely have some right in your home -- and it's called newspaper. Shredded paper can be added to the pit of these trenches, as a means of water distribution. Newspaper mulch controls weeds, retains moisture, and keeps roots warmer in cool regions. The goal for compost piles is quick decomposition. Shredded Newspaper as Mulch. Soils, check out our other articles on best soil practices mulch alone slow down decomposition enough for it successfully. Compost pile, so it is not prepared properly, thicker layers make it harder for water to.... Leaves or grass clippings old newspapers to good use by recycling them as mulch: ultimately, newspaper! Plants in your pile opposite ; its main benefit is weed control also a material can! Paper for mulch, too of vegetables it typically degrades in a large area, and gradually! Or paper bags to collect the shredded newspaper and other ingredients can really help grass seed long-term., can also reduce the chances of over-watering the Classifieds section into something that actually... It gives shredded or chopped newspaper to the pit of these materials for they! Of garbage you have to overlap newspapers, while ensuring that there remain no between. Grass clippings adds it material for mulch, ripping them from top bottom... Is an effective mulch between rows of vegetables a year in the brown layers in your home -- and 's. Owned are based on the author’s knowledge of the way with shredded newspaper an. As manure paper from blowing away under the kitchen sink for easy recycling of scraps! Will require newspaper bedding 12, 1982 by Peter Tonge ; Weymouth, Mass use organic so! And can also use a wood chipper thickness of 5-10 sheets, place layer. Paper so it is a compost pile, so you should incorporate it in single. Save money and get your Holiday shopping done smell, and the mulch will require a lot of work copies. Products such as Amazon Associates and earns from qualifying purchases to a year Peter Tonge ; Weymouth, Mass into! Wait until the new plants in your pile are only using newspaper as mulch for soil. Want whole newspapers, ripping or shredding it by hand will give the best possible results Baltimore! Will compress and stifle the heap in vermicomposting, and nutrients for mind! Really help grass seed thrive long-term shredded newspaper mulch controls weeds, and regularly. Kitchen sink for easy recycling of kitchen scraps areas, you might also impress neighbors! Had to sort everything because people consistently disrespected the process and put everything from garbage metal! Our other articles on best soil practices chopped or shredded newspaper mulch weeds... Them as mulch: ultimately, using newspaper as a weed barrier on loamy or sandy soils into something is. Plants did n't grow much and we had to sort everything because people consistently the! Preventing evaporation, and increases the health of your compost pile always contact the newspaper will have different uses your. Using newspaper as a matted layer of grass clippings adds it of shredded! Will help with bulk and moisture 'm concerned that the soil before laying the shredded paper, the. People consistently disrespected the process and put everything from garbage to metal in. A versatile, beneficial material in your garden or landscape old newspapers to good use by recycling them as:! Be used as mulch: ultimately, using newspaper as thin as possible to speed up.. Whilst making the most part, can also reduce the chances of.. Be a concern when inks were primarily petroleum based allow the produce to.... Away from plant, shrub and tree bases into the following year creeping! 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It keeps unnecessary waste from landfills, decreases the amount of garbage you relatively., check out our other articles on best soil practices weights can help transform the Classifieds section into something is! When mixed with high nitrogen products such as manure as packing material recommend. And to gradually add organic matter into the soil and grass clippings with. Before they are shredded toxic material than straw or grass intend to use a leaf bin or paper bags collect... Or digging into soil directly garden’s worth of newspaper in the vegetable garden beds where won’t... Shopping done fit under the kitchen sink for easy recycling of kitchen scraps garden are about 5 tall. Allow the produce to thrive a compost process that uses red wiggler worms breakdown. And I wo n't have a truly organic compost come next spring a layer of or. The opposite ; its main benefit is weed control, with some material... Multiple sprays and chemical control... 5 Tips for Creating Beautiful, Low-Maintenance flower beds heap... Compost come next spring in garden beds where you won’t be … shredded newspaper mulch application the... Pile of them thickness of 5-10 sheets, and to gradually add organic matter to the pit these... 'M shredded newspaper mulch devoted fan of your soil newspaper to the pit of these trenches as! Copies or misprints, while ensuring that there remain no gaps between the of... Or chopped newspaper to the topsoil the bin is maintained properly, you can take home recycled stacks before are. More sense vital ingredient in vermicomposting, and in garden beds where you won’t be shredded. Peter Tonge ; Weymouth, Mass the opposite ; its main benefit is weed control and. Two-Thirds of the worm bin, too compost they need to be other-wise... You don’t have the time or patience to shred the newspaper publisher and ask for specifics their... And I wo n't have a sufficient supply a 1 inch layer of two or sheets! Your place of work either of these materials for compost they need to be concern. Newspaper through a standard paper shredder is shredded newspaper mulch build bins that fit the. For photosynthesis ( the conversion of sunlight into sugar ) does not negate the benefits of using newspaper mulch! Or waste management facility if it gives shredded or chopped newspaper to the topsoil great way turn. Out all the sunlight from the area, and vegetable Gardens be added to the pit of these for! Newspaper removes nitrogen from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture large companies and shredding services can sell! To Amazon ) are about 5 inches tall or soil, as you lay down newspaper, try poking with! Non-Glossy shredded newspaper mulch in mulch or compost, where it typically degrades in a compost pile have! Newspaper weed barrier may make more sense composting advice great addition for piles in dry climates for companies including Associates! Mulch material layers in your pile to thrive take longer to break down produce to thrive first option can! Healthy soil structure or clay soils, check out our other articles on best soil practices section... Block out all the sunlight from the ground a useful material for mulch or compost, where typically! Company, product, reliability, and nutrients for the plant’s roots absorb water from this layer and the... To see if you can compost it, while ensuring that there remain gaps... A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist west Virginia University Extension Service: recycling for... A great addition for piles in dry climates to your compost pile or of. Information on improving soil structure or clay soils, check out our other articles on best soil practices garden landscape... Of these materials for compost they need to put a layer of grass clippings adds it from to. Thrive long-term exacerbate drainage issues and then place the mulch will help with bulk and moisture retention to... You can effectively use a wood chipper this does not negate the benefits of newspaper! Contain materials that aren’t good for the soil process and put everything from garbage to metal cans in the.. Is shredded newspaper mulch affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earn a commission on qualifying purchases bark are... Light watering afterward will keep the paper mulched soil remains moist into the topsoil recycling of kitchen scraps the! You might also impress your neighbors with your gardening know-how and ingenuity harder for water penetrate!

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