Newspapers seem to pile up faster than they can get into the recycling bin. Using newspapers in your garden is a great way to reuse them. Soy based inks make it safe to use newspapers in the vegetable garden. Here are the top three ways to recycle newspapers in your garden.
New Garden Beds
Lining new garden beds with several inches of newspaper will block weeds and grass from emerging into the new garden. As the vegetation under the newspaper dies off, it feeds the soil. Newspaper is porous and water will penetrate through it. Cover the newspaper with at least eight inches of soil to allow plants plenty of room to grow. Only use the newspaper for this, especially if you are starting a vegetable garden. The flyers and magazine sections may have harmful chemicals in the inks.
Starting plants indoors during the growing season requires small containers. Peat pots can get expensive. Reusing plastic containers requires removal of the plants at planting time. This can result in transplant shock. An inexpensive way to create all of the pots you need for starting seeds is to use newspapers. To make a newspaper pot all you need is a can or other cylindrical object. For large pots cut the newspaper into 10 inch wide strips. For smaller pots to start seeds in use 5 inch wide strips.
Roll the newspaper around the cylinder so that half of the newspaper strip is off of the cylinder or can. Try to keep the edges of the newspaper even. Roll several times around the can. Fold in the loose edges of the newspaper to the bottom of the can. Press down hard to firmly hold the newspaper together. You can use a small amount of tape on the bottom if desired. Slide the can out from the newspaper. Fill pot with soil for seed starting. If transplanting fill the bottom with soil and then add the transplant. Top off with more soil if needed.
Newspaper pots are biodegradable. You can plant the entire pot directly into the garden when the plant is ready. This will greatly reduce transplant shock.
Lining new or old pathways with several inches of newspaper will keep the paths free of weeds. Cover the newspaper with mulch, shredded wood, gravel or other decorative material. The newspaper will block out weeds and grass while letting water drain through. It is much cheaper to use newspaper than it is to purchase landscaping fabric. The newspaper will decompose over a couple of years.
Using newspapers to mark a new pathway makes planning easy. Simply lay the newspaper where you want the path to go. Rearrange as necessary. Once you have the desired look, add more newspapers to create a thick layer of one to three inches. Cover with the path material of your choice. This will work well for installing stone or brick paths. Just add sand and gravel over the newspaper layer and proceed as usual.
These three ways to recycle newspapers in your garden will keep your home free of piles of unwanted papers. Children love to help with these projects. Enlist them to collect the papers and make pots or help build the gardens and paths. Make your garden greener by recycling when you can.