There are a number of ways that this material can be useful in the garden, and enrich the soil. This guide is about using newspaper in the garden.
I use newspaper, at least double paged around my plants, then I put mulch on top. It helps to keep plant roots moist, all but eliminates weeds, and by the time the garden is to be tilled the next season, the newspaper has decomposed, and helps to enrich the soil. I simply rake my mulch back, till the soil, plant, place new newspaper, and replace mulch. Helps to save on the cost of mulch too!And a great way to recycle newspapers!
By Cheryl from Trinity, NC
It's not too late to do it, I add the newspaper around the plants as soon as I plant my tomato plants, etc. I sew rows & "hills" of green beans, squash, so i place the newspaper in between rows and around the hills, so the seeds can sprout. I use the mulch more to help hold the paper down in place. I leave it the entire season. I pull up the plants that die out, and leave all the paper & mulch in place until I till in the spring. I take a garden rake, pull back the mulch and till the decomposed newspaper into the soil. It really helped make my white clay soil much darker and richer. i also have a small goldfish pond in my natural area, during the summer when it needs cleaning, I use my garden hose to pump the old water, which is full of fish emulsions to water the garden. It may help deter cats since they wouldn't be able to dig down into the soil without a lot of effort.
I have read that sometimes newspaper print may have lead in it's ink, and lead doesn't decompose. May be absorbed by the plants and absorbed by YOU. Please use caution when using newspaper as mulch in growing food.
hubby and i do the same put newspaper down
mulch on top. my son gets truck loads of mulch from the sewer plant.
might smell for a few days in the end have a beautiful flower and veggie garden
Newspaper is great for mulching, and for keeping weeds at bay. Newspaper does really great for my cherry bushes.
To eliminate weeding from garden vegetable rows, I began recycling old news papers. I place the newspapers in the between the vegetable rows.
I've been gardening, seems like forever. My best 'creation' was laying a soaker hose along the growing rows, then cover the garden with newspapers.
I am experimenting with what I would call "lasagna gardening". My boxes are 6' x 1' x 1', on wheels, with a chipboard bottom and made out of pine. Any recommendations on how thick of a newspaper layer I need? Should the paper go above or below the gravel layer?
I think put the paper on the gravel. If bottom is chipboard, do you have some kind of plastic covering it first because it will fall apart and it has stuff gluing it together you don't want to leach into your soil.
The person who "invented" lasagna gardening put the newspaper on the top of the soil to prevent weeds from growing. I'm not sure what you're doing with the gravel, but I'd say for sure the paper should go as the last layer. If you want, you can cover with woodchips or whatever you want to use to make it look pretty. Otherwise, I'd just use the paper.
I do this every year and have been doing so for many years, put as much newspaper as you have as thick as you can, it keeps the soil moist through the hot summer and keeps the freeze off the roots during the winter and keeps from filling the landfills.......You can do this every year.
I have been using the "lasagna gardening" method in my raised beds for years. My beds are permanent landscape timbers 8'x4' two timbers high so they are approximately 8" deep.
Here's how I made the "lasagna garden" over the top of the ground:
1st Layer: folded newspapers heavily overlapped and hosed down so they are sopping wet.
2nd Layer: grass clippings
3rd Layer: compost
4th Layer: chopped dried leaves
(Occasionally, I've used a layer of newspapers as the top layer over the leaves only to prevent weeds. Using it on the top is unsightly and you have to leave plenty of room around the base or stem of the plants.)
Each year I add more compost to the top and haven't disturbed the layers in several years. I can dig into the bed with a shovel and by looking at the side of it can actually see the layers!
I plant veggies in this garden every year and the lasagna method is by far the most productive raised bed that I've ever had.
If you're using chipboard for the bottoms of your beds you might want to consider using some sort of plastic to protect the board before using the gravel. The gravel is for drainage? The chipboard may become too wet and rot away to quickly.
Perhaps you could think of your new box garden as just like a large plant pot. It may only need a drainage hole, then your plastic, then newspapers, then soil layers. The newspapers on the bottom will retain water. Figure a way for the water to collect underneath the drain hole.
I'm in GA zone 7. Good luck with your lasagna garden!
We use newspapers (minus the glossy/slick ads) in our garden as stepping stones. If you have a low spot that always gets muddy, you can put down a layered section.
Fall and winter is the perfect time to prepare a space for a garden next spring. Put down a few layers of newspaper over the spot you want to use. This will keep the weeds down and rot any sod underneath. The newspaper will work as a weed barrier and will decompose to make soil.
We stocked up on the pellet-style cat litter that's made from recycled newspapers (see http://www.yesterdaysnews.com/Products/CatLitter.aspx). Then we realized we don't like it at all, so now we're stuck with most of a large bag and no use for it. Is it OK to use this stuff to mulch house plants and flower beds?
By Kelly from Dallas, TX
That sounds like a great idea to me. Assuming, of course, that the only ingredient in the cat litter is newspaper.