Newspaper Mulch

joycekhApril 17, 2009

I heard of someone using layers of wet newspapers in their veggie garden to keep the weeds out. Anyone tried this, and do you have to cover the newspaper with anything else?

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Newspapers are a good way to suppress emergent weed seeds. In summer it makes a useful mulch to reserve moisture. You basically prepare your bed like any other vegetable beds; add the layers of newspapers and wet down to prevent being blown off; cut holes where you'd be planting the vegetables. You will need to top them with mulch or top soil to prevent them from being blown away and to make these look great. In theory, the papers will decompose and eventually will form part of the bed. In reality, decomposition takes long and by the end of the season, when clean up happens, you'll probably find the tattered newspapers unkempt.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 11:10AM
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I use layers of newpaper or cardboard to keep weeds down in the garden. Works for me! You will need several layers of newpaper to keep weeds and grass from growing through, or one layer of cardboard. Top it with any mulch you want, or just a sprinkle of soil to hide it and keep it in place. In a few weeks it will be soft and you will be able to easiily cut through to plant, or just move it aside and put back after planting. Because it is wood based, it will use up nitrogen as it decomposes, so you'll want to add a bit of manure, as well.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 6:26AM
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Hello. I've heard of lasagne gardening where you layer like you said with cardboard. Would the cardboard prevent a tree from getting enough moisture? I'd like to get rid of the crabgrass that's growing around it and plant flowers instead.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Well when cardboard gets wet enough it should still allow for water to drain down. However if the rain is quite light and short - you can be sure water won't be able to penetrate. Also, when mulching around a tree, you don't wish to make it so dense that oxygen cannot penetrate roots.

And by the way, when planting in a lasagna layer, you would need to penetrate the newspaper or cardboard layer in order to put in your plants. If you don't, that plant will not be able to reach into the soil below and will not thrive... So once you set up your lasagna layer, punch a hole through and then plant.

- also, and this is just my technique, if you wish to do lasagna gardening and immediately set it plants, it would be a good idea to add at least some good soil beneath the newspaper layers so that when you set you plants in the ground, its roots will be in good soil.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 10:06AM
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Crafty Gardener(ON 5b)

I've tried this method (last year) and it works quite well. I did use cardboard, with some compost on top, and then I emptied some pots of soil on top of it before winter. Looks good so far this spring.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 9:25PM
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