We shred a lot of paper in my household and part of me keeps wondering
if there is something better than just sending it off with the weekly
I've added it to the compost bin and to a few holes left by stump
removal with compost and such. While it doesn't break down quickly, it
does rot eventually.
BUT - I was wondering how it would work as a weed suppressing mulch. And
more importantly, if I soaked small batches with coffee grounds and tea
bags if I could make it look better at the same time
No real experience here but I think it would work well. I use
newspaper in the bottom of the planting holes and around the plants.
Helps with water control and weeds. As with a lot of things in
gardening, try it and then let us know how it works :)
If you had chooks, I'd suggest you put in the chook's nesting boxes or just
in their yard with scratch mix sprinkled in it and add weeds as well so they
could turn it into pre-compost material.
I'm not a fan of paper in the garden as, living in a climate that is often
hot and dry, I've found that laying sheets of newspaper out has a tendency
to form a mat that expells water. It does work to ameliorate weeds but I
find it's high maintenance stuff and I've come to like the contemplative
aspect of weeding.
I do ahve a friend who uses what I'd call 'chipped' paper in her garden
sprinkled like icing sugar (confectioner's sugar in USian). The paper is
put through some for of shredder in a legal firm and is the bits of paper
are so small that they are not much smaller than the size of a grain of
rice. As a very, very thin mulch, this stuff seems to break down quite
qucikly in comparison to sheets of paper and serves as a good form of summer
shading on the soil.
I suggest you give it a try and report back as it's alwyas worth a try. If
you are going to dye it in batches, I suspect you'll probalby get sick of
doing that in a short time anyway and can thus do an experimental sized bit
of your garden. Good luck.
if you don't like how it looks reserve
some soil when you work it in a patch and
then top off the area with the reserved
soil. if you don't have to disturb the
bed for a few weeks it should work.
throwing the coffee grounds on top of
this would also help perk things up
(haha, sorry couldn't resist :) ).
well mixed in, it will decay faster
than if it clumps together.
a thick layer on top that gets wet
and then dries will be pretty crusty
and might keep oxygen and water from
getting in later.
i don't like plastic bits in the gardens
i always take apart any plastic windowed
envelopes and throw away that part, but
the rest gets used (i think the worms like
Paper is quite suitable for both purposes. In the compost mix it in with
other stuff, including those with some nitrogen, and keep it damp and it
will rot more quickly. For mulch it may be better to not shred it as it
tends to blow around. A local orchard uses huge amounts of newspapers still
folded laying them down in circles around all the trees so that the fold
side covers the edge of the newspaper next to it, this stops the edges
blowing open in the wind. It doesn't look pretty but it works.
It works great, but it looks better if you cover it with mulch. I use
overlapping sheets to suppress weeds. FarmI is right that initially it
will block part of any rainfall, but that is only for a few weeks and
then it starts degrading. I usually just punch holes through the mulch
and newsprint to plant, and then the watering is done with drip at the
hole. I use drip with emmitters every 12', or every 6".
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