Paper mulch

  So I decided the easiest way to get mulch around the strawberries is to use shredded paper - but I'm unsure about what paper is safe . Useta be that glossy paper was not , but newsprint was . I *think* most modern inks are soy based and safe , but I'm not sure . It'd sure be nice to use all those spam mails for something productive instead of burning them .
--
Snag
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Terry Coombs wrote:

if they weren't safe for plants it probably also isn't safe to burn them. most at home burning doesn't burn hot enough or clean enough IMO.
that said, i use regular newspaper for smothering things under cardboard as an extra layer to just get rid of it and the worms eventually take care of it.
if you aren't using it too much i think it is ok. i don't use any shiny printed materials in case they have plastic coated surfaces. in some cases in the past i've missed a few pieces and noticed the worms seem to like to suck the ink off the paper like it may have some salts or strange things in it that worms find attractive.
songbird
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Bob F wrote: ...

based upon my experience all inks other than carbon black and soy oil based have some interesting things in them i'd rather avoid, but at times i will still shred a small amount of colored glossy inserts by accident and let the worms eat those anyways. i'm concerned though that this might not be the best thing over the really long term so i'm being more careful now.
in my experiments with different glossy papers and various colored inks i saw the worms actually sucking the ink off the paper as if they were attracted to it (perhaps it registered as a salt or flavoring that they liked i'm not sure what - perhaps it was melon flavored (they really like melon rinds)).
since some papers and cardboards can be coated with plastic (or have a layer of plastic hidden between layers of paper) it can be a real mess if you happen to shred that and then use it in your composting system (yes i have had this happen - years later i'm still picking pieces of plastic out of some gardens).
songbird
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On 3/19/19 9:34 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

I doubt inks and coatings are totally benign, but then what is these days?
https://www.menofthewest.net/undercover-gardening-with-shredded-paper/
Soaking and sloshing the shredded paper a bit more than suggested might further wash out the inks and coatings into the waste water. Definitely remove the plastic windows from the envelopes.
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On 3/19/2019 8:34 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

We cover the strawberries with Ponderosa pine needles for the winter. Then remove most of them in the Spring(about now). And leave some needles to use as mulch when the new leaves begin to grow. Keeps irrigation water off the berries, too.
Paul in Central Oregon
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Paul Drahn wrote:

hi Paul,
i don't recall you posting here before so welcome. :)
if the plants are established i don't always bother mulching them for the winter at all. this past winter was as bad as they can get for plants with too many times of bare ground and very cold chills down past -20F. frost heave can pop late season transplanted crowns right out of the ground by spring.
this past fall i managed to get the strawberry patch done earlier in the fall/late summer and it looks like i have survivors enough. just have to see how they green up and hope the spring isn't too crazy with the frosts when they are flowering.
some times i do put some pine needles on them but not every year - it comes down to how busy i am with other things and if i get to it.
i'm not sure what the irrigation water on the berries would do as far as i can tell the berries are in good shape here even with our normal rain falls. as long as i get them picked when they are ripe.
to prevent mold and bug issues i pick everything that is ready even the berries that are partially eaten by chipmunks or birds. there are some berries that the worms or wood lice will get after and i pick those too if i notice them. any scraps that i can't eat will get fed to the worm bins (along with the tops/leaves).
songbird
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On 3/24/2019 6:43 AM, songbird wrote:

I've lurked here for years, but seldom see anything to comment on.
We live in the Central ORegon desert and have quite sandy soil, Actually all volcanic ash! Water drops bounce up the sand and gets on the berries and gives them a gritty texture, even after trying to wash them. So, the pine needles break up the water drops, but still lets the water get to the soil.
The needles also help to keep the jeans clean when I have to kneel down to pick the berries.
Paul
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On 3/24/2019 8:18 PM, Paul Drahn wrote:

  Haven't I seen you post in some of the metalworking groups ?
--
Snag
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On 3/24/2019 6:58 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

Yes, occasionally there, as well
Paul
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Paul Drahn wrote: ...

huh! learn something new every day. :)
we get some sand or clay splash but that rinses away. i never rinse the berries when i pick them but only right before i'm prepping them for jam or mashing for shortcakes.

i can't do a lot of kneeling in any of the gardens but if i have to get that low to the ground i have ground pillows to sit on. much easier on my body. every year is a new adventure in what i can and can't do.
songbird
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