The “Paper and the Garden”???
Yep. I do not mean the paper used to draw out the garden plans.
I should actually do a better job of writing down those things so that I recall them better in the next season. Right now, I do write some things down, but not enough to actually be a benefit to me.
But, that is not what I mean.
I mean, I use paper in the garden. Quite a bit really. Here is why:
- It works well as a mulch. I shred the paper, or take shredded paper, mix it in the soil a little and wet it down good. It holds moisture and keeps the weeds down. It works beautifully.
- It then breaks down over the course of the year and becomes part of the composted materials I add to the garden. In a composting system, paper is one of the ingredients added as it supplies the mix with carbon.
I will often use sheets of cardboard to keep weeds down around my plants. Again, it works well and over the course of the year, breaks down nicely to add to the soil. It keeps the moisture in the soil and the worms seem to like that, as they are usually right below the cardboard doing their job.
Worms are a good sign in the garden soil. They are amazing little machines that help the soil break down. Their waste is amazing for the soil and many people now have created Worm Farms. They grow worms specifically for people to buy for their gardens and sell the composted soil. Some even sell the worm “castings” because it’s so good for the soil.
But that’s a whole ‘nuther post.
Paper. The paper, shredded, I have also started using in the coop. It works well for bedding in the coop as it is absorbent, absorbing the dampness and moisture. But it also works well to absorb the odors. I do have quite a bit of newspaper in the mix, which, you might recall, works well to absorb odors. The chickens scratching around in it helps to break it down and will make a nice addition to the garden later on.
When I start a new garden, now that I have learned this trick, I lay down a good layer of cardboard. It kills the grass you already know, but then I can pile the compost, kitchen scraps no meat or dairy, but do use egg shells, some grass clippings, leaves or straw. Even old moldy hay will work. I also pile on manures partially composted or composted, mixed with some dirt. Soak the whole thing down, daily if I can and let it sit for a bit. It’s a “Lasagna” type garden. And I am in love!
This type of garden, I think, works so well. I have not tilled my gardens at all, but have used the spade to just turn the soil if I need to loosen it up. Generally, though, I have just added more layers in the fall, let nature take its course, and turn it a bit in spring if needed.
What have you found to work well in your gardens?? Have you used paper this way??