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Recycling newspapers in your garden

Recycling newspapersMany of you read newspapers and know how quickly they stack up at home. You can donate them to paper recyclers or you can recycle them yourself. The garden is a perfect place to get double-duty from your newspapers.

Most newspapers are now printed with either water or soy based ink, rather than the petroleum based ink that was once common. So it is pretty much safe for composting. I say pretty much, because the new inks can still contain very small amounts of toxic compounds, but not enough to linger and do damage. (An exception would be glossy magazine and advertising inserts, which still use heavy metals to get intense color.)

However being fine for compost and adding newspaper directly to the soil are two different things. Newspaper decomposes very slowly, which is why sheets of it can be used as a weed block. It also uses up a lot of nitrogen. Rather than digging newspaper into the soil, I would recommend mulching with it. Apply 4-5 inches of shredded newspaper, once plants are at least 5 inches tall. The reason for waiting is that newspaper slightly lowers the soil's temperature and, like all mulches, keeps it cool. Once the plants are 5 inches tall, the soil should be warm enough to insulate it.

To offset the depletion of nitrogen, apply fertilizer before mulching. I recommend to till the newspaper in at the end of the season and top with a cover crop, but that's not always practical. As an alternative, you can move the remaining mulch out from the plants in early spring, allow the soil to warm, amend if necessary and move the mulch back, adding more as needed.

If you've used newspaper in your garden, I'd love to hear from you.

Source: internet