Newspaper as a weed barrier in garden

banslug

Cathlete
I plant a veggie garden every spring, and I'll be planting mine within the next 2 weeks (I usually do it on Mother's Day, but we're having a cold snap with frost warnings so I put it off a week or so). In the past, I've never used anything to keep weeds at bay...just kind of plucked them as they came up. But as it goes, the weeds begin to overtake my veggies and I get frustrated! This year, I'll be using old newspaper as a weed barrier. I read about doing so in the Clean Eating Magazine and was intrigued. I've googled it and it's simple enough.

My question: has anybody ever done this and if so, how did it work? The directions all suggest using an inch or two of mulch on top of the paper, but I'm wondering about how the newspaper and/or mulch goes back into the soil when NEXT Spring comes and I till my garden for planting.

Any input, advice or suggestions???
 
I decided to try this last year, not only in the vegetable garden, but also with flower beds and the paths in between the beds. It worked quite well.
In the planting beds, I laid down several layers of newspaper, covered them with a few inches of compost, and later with a top layer of shredded bark mulch to retain moisture. I planted my veggies directly into the compost, and I did not till the soil the first. They did very well, even though we had another summer drought - as usual. My rain barrels ran dry early on, but I did keep up the watering. This year, there are few if any weeds coming up in the beds. I'm still waiting to plant my warm weather veggies - we had a freeze again 2 nights ago. Good luck with your garden !
 

kathryn

Cathlete
I haven't used newspaper myself, but one of my colleagues used to quite successfully. I think he basically just spread out the paper (don't know about how many layers) and put on mulch, then planted seedlings through a hole in the paper.



My rain barrels ran dry early on, but I did keep up the watering.
Do you have the type of rainbarrels that catch water from the downspout? I've been wanting to get some, but the ones I've looked at have either bad or mixed reviews. What do you use, and how do you like them?
 

banslug

Cathlete
Thanks, ladies. I'm really excited about doing this! I had thought about using the Organic Garden Preen, but just can't stand the idea of spraying ANYthing on my edibles (I never even use Miracle Grow). I'll keep you posted....I'll be planting next week! YAY!
 

coradora

Cathlete
Thanks for asking this question! I have been saving my newspapers, but I was wondering if I can use the ones with coloured print or if I have to stick with only black print - does anyone know?

I have never grown a veggie garden and I am eager to get growing. We bought a house with a huge yard (.6 acre) about 3 years ago and it has taken us this long just to clean up the overgrowth from many years of neglect.

I tried growing kale and chard last year, but some pretty green moths decided they looked like good nurseries - I am definitely learning by trial and error. If I get some floating row cover, do I need to leave it on the plants until I harvest them, or is there a specific time period that the cabbage moths are laying?

Thanks for any advice!
Corrie
 

banslug

Cathlete
Hi, Corrie. Sorry, I can't give you any advice on the moths. Fortunately, the only problem I've had in the past 5 years was beetles (1 year) and moles (last year).

When I started with my veggie garden a few years ago, I grew tomatoes of all varieties, green beans and peas, broccoli, peppers of all kinds, and squash. Now, since I'm a member of a local CSA, I've switched my own growing stash to things like spaghetti squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. I CAN'T WAIT till harvest time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Evie

Cathlete
I've been doing this for many years. If you use the newspaper, use a lot of layers (4-8), and for the best results, wet them down either before you put them down, or immediately afterward. If you wet them down prior to putting them down, use a bucket of water to dunk them into. Putting newspapers down really does improve the soil - you'll be amazed at how quickly they disintegrate, which is why I recommend using a few layers. Adding the mulch on top helps keep them in place in case of high winds (so does getting them wet - they sort of stick to the soil a bit). This is just a great base for your annual gardens (whether vegetable or flowers). It really does help keeps the weeds down - not perfect, but certainly better than using a weed killer.

I use only the black inked papers. I've heard that as long as it's a true newspaper, that the colored inks are ok, but I'm skeptical, so I just stick to black ink, which are soy based, from what I understand.
 

atiman

Cathlete
Another use for newspaper in the yard.

I used the newspaper method when I planted trees and shrubs in a very large planting area. I dug and planted the shrubs where I wanted these to b placed. I used the paper to cover up the grass areas around them. I layed down the paper and then wet it. I added a layer of dirt and mulch on top.

This killed the grass and kept the weeds down. It totally worked! Saved me a lot of time by not having to remove the grass. I also used brown bags when I ran out of newspaper.
I only wish I learned about this method when we first starting planting shrubbery.:eek:
I was very surprised that newspaper disintegrated. The only thing that I saw that was left the following year were small pieces of the brown bag. This would be easy to remove in a garden.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by keeperofthegarden
My rain barrels ran dry early on, but I did keep up the watering.

Do you have the type of rainbarrels that catch water from the downspout? I've been wanting to get some, but the ones I've looked at have either bad or mixed reviews. What do you use, and how do you like them?

Kathryn - I use the type of rain barrels that collect water from a downspout. My DH made them from recycled white plastic 55 gallon barrels. I really like them (especially when they are full and I need to water). There is a diverter conection between the downspout and the barrel. When the barrel is full, you switch the lever and the excess rain water runs down to the ground. The only time I don't use the rain barrels to water my vegetables is when they are ready to be harvested. Bacteria can form inside the barrel, due to heat from air temps and direct sun. When I am watering my lettuce, or other veggies that are soon to be eaten, I use water from the spigot. The rest of the time, the barrels are great. I tell myself I am getting a little extra workout from walking back and forth to fill my watering cans.
 

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