Growing onions with paper mulch

glane1219(northern OK.)February 24, 2006

Hi, I am planting 1/2 of my onion plants using black paper mulch this year to cut down on the weeds and to heat the soil up earlier for a head start. Has anyone here used the black planters paper mulch before and does it work well for onions?


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I have used newspaper, shredded newspaper, shredded office paper, pine shavings, southern cedar shavings, oak chips and spent mushroom dirt.
newspaper can blow easily and just doesn't look good. It can also make paper mache. It works though. Lots of independent tests show shredded office paper equal to or superior to the best comercial mulches. It has done very well for me. Spent mushroom dirt raises the ground level, but does little to stop insects or weeds. It is easy to weed though. Wood shavings look the best, stop lots of problems, but they crank the PH down. I add agricultural crushed limestone to buffer the acid and the onions seem to do well.
Paper is almost entirely carbon hydrogen and oxygen. Wood shavings and chips provide a more ballanced diet, if you can get past the PH issues. Fresh wood shavings are not generally recomended, but I have used them with reasonable success.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 12:46PM
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Is black paper mulch readily available in your area? I'm only familiar with plastic and landscape fabric for cropping. Black plastic works fine for the larger sweet bulbing onions. I hand lay 2 driptape lines and then use plastic layer to put down 4' black plastic strip over top. then I plant 4 rows of onions per strip, spacing 5-6" on either sides of the driptapes and 6" spacing between plants within rows. I'd advise drip tape even with paper mulch since onions don't perform well without a regular water supply.

I'd be interested in your experience with paper. There seem to be a lot of unanswered questions. The biodegradable plastics on the market have been poorly accepted because they begin degrading about a month into the season.With paper wetting and wind become issues. But recycling should be simplified.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 2:51PM
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