Creating a new flower or garden bed

In her book "Earthly Delights" (which I would recommend) Margot Rochester suggests that to create a new garden bed lay down eight layers of newspaper and then place compost on it, and then cover with leaves. She does not suggest digging up the ground underneath. It sounds like a good process, but my wife wonders about the ink the newspaper. Will it cause any harm if you grow vegtables. Any opinions?
Thanks
Tom
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Check the masthead of the newspapers. You may see a message saying it's printed with soy-based ink. That's not monstrous stuff, and you're only going to go through this process once.
On the other hand, you could invest in a REALLY nice spade and a fine-grained flat file to sharpen it every few hours. The sharpening takes a minute, and the spade will slip under grass like a hot knife through butter. Well....not quite that easily....but easier than you might think. Hire a local kid to use a hand cultivator and knock the excess soil off of the resulting sod clumps. No reason to throw away excellent soil - it should stay in the garden bed.

newspaper
but
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Doug Kanter wrote:

I believe that virtually all newspapers use soy based inks now. I rather doubt that the newspapers can even buy the old ink that has heavy metals in it these days. AFAIK, only the colored sections of the newspapers had the heavy metals anyway.
Magazines are another issue. (no pun intended).
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I use flattened cardboard cartons instead; available free form shops. For the covering layer I use lawn grass clippings, seaweed, bracken, wood ash, manure; whatever raw, compostable material I can get. Very quickly, worms start working in it, and birds start stirring up the materials looking for the worms; so it isn't long before the raw ingredients break down into brown friable composty material.
Janet.
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Rochester
process,
you
Sounds great, unless you need it ready to plant within a few days.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

FWIW I wanted ground cover around a newly planted, fairly large tree, so i did the newspaper thing, spread about 2 - 3" of soil and peat on top and stuck a bunch of Dragon's Blood creepers in. They were weed free the first two summers and by that time were well enough established to hold off the weeds on their own.
Ma
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You can still plant straight away with card. I've used two methods; when planting a new comfrey patch into weed-infested, undug ground, I made slits with a pade, rammed in rows of comfrey root, then laid the card up to, but not covering, the comfrey slips, and covered with mulch. All weeds were smothered and the comfrey thrived.
The other method, is to lay out your bed as I described then rake back a little mulch, cut a planting-size hole through the card with a knife, plant shrub/fruit bush or whatever, and tuck the mulch back to prevent weeds.
I should perhaps add that where I garden has plenty of rain all year round (about 70 " per annum).
Janet (Ilse of Aran, Scotland).
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shops.
But Janet....I *like* digging for an entire weekend and then melting into a chair with some Lagavulin (for the muscle aches) and admiring my work! :-)
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Dig, Doug, dig. Nobody said you couldn't.
:-)
Janet.
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