Newspaper Mulch Helps With Weed Control

Don't just read the newspaper every morning, turn it into newspaper mulch for your garden.

| May/June 1978

  • Melons with Mulch
    Weed-control is made easy with newspaper mulch because the weeds won't grow underneath the newspaper.
    PHOTO: DOTTIE GOUDY
  • Newspaper Mulch
    Tear little slits in the newspaper so the mulch will fit it around the plants.
    DOTTIE GOUDY
  • Newspaper Mulch with Hay
    After you fit your plant into the slit,  cover it with a layer of hay to further protect it and to weigh down the newspaper.
    DOTTIE GOUDY
  • Newspaper Mulch for Melons
    These melons are spread out over the newspaper mulch and the hay that weighs it down.
    DOTTIE GOUDY
  • 051-050-01-Celery
    Celery can be blanched in newspaper and tied with twine.
    DOTTIE GOUDY
  • 051-050-01-Zucchinis
    Like this zucchini plant, your plants can be weed-free if you use newspaper mulch.
    DOTTIE GOUDY
  • 051-050-01-Tents
    "Tents" protect young plants and help with weed control.
    DOTTIE GOUDY

  • Melons with Mulch
  • Newspaper Mulch
  • Newspaper Mulch with Hay
  • Newspaper Mulch for Melons
  • 051-050-01-Celery
  • 051-050-01-Zucchinis
  • 051-050-01-Tents

Whether or not the morning newspaper is handing you the whole truth about what's going on in the world, it can be the best friend your garden plants ever had. When formed into little tents, newspaper mulch can protect your crops from the glaring sun. As mulch, recycled newspaper is one of the best weed-controls available. You can even blanch celery with the Daily Gazette! As a matter of fact, I find newspapers so useful during the growing season that I collect them year round.

For me, using newspaper mulch is a longtime dream come true. I had always envisioned warm, golden cantaloupes peeping from beneath the umbrellas of their massive vines, spreading a green blanket over a rich brown surface, with complete weed control! But that dream never materialized . . . until I discovered mulching in general and newspaper mulch in particular.

The main benefit that any gardener can realize from a good newspaper mulch is weed control. (Once your layer of papers is in place, you can forget about that section of the vegetable patch for the rest of the season: You're done with hoeing and weeding.) But newspaper mulching also regulates the temperature of the soil, adds fertility, and conserves moisture. (This last point alone can be a real benefit when every gardener's eye is searching a cloudless sky, and unmulched plants are slowly turning brown.)

Most crops — melons, beans, tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, etc. — should be mulched when the plants have reached a height of 4 or 5 inches. Prepare the ground around the crops to receive the covering of paper by first hoeing out any weeds that are as tall as (or taller than) the cultivated plants. (The smaller weeds will be smothered by the mulch.)



Early morning and late evening, I've found, are the best times for laying down a mulch. The wind is usually calm then which makes it easier to spread out a complete row of papers before weighting them with hay. (At other times of the day, a gusting wind can send carefully placed newspapers flying. Grabbing here and there, trying to halt their flight, I have often wished I were an octopus while watching my papers tumble across the garden and plaster themselves against the far fence!)

If you want to mulch closely spaced crops such as beets or carrots, you can forget about the weeds which grow between individual plants within a row. The fanning foliage of such closely spaced crops discourages weed germination well enough to do away with any need for slitting each sheet of paper and fitting it down around each separate plant. (It would be tedious indeed to attempt to equip every tiny carrot seedling with its own little newspaper collar! ) Instead, just peel a 5- or 6-sheet layer from your supply of papers and adjoin the ground covering up against the stems of the plants at one end of the row. Then continue putting down similar layers of newspaper along that side of the row, allowing 2 or 3 inches of overlap for each new section of the mulch.

ann eileen miller baker
2/24/2013 10:23:16 PM

can you plant on top of newspaper mulch which covers sod (lawn)? pls email: musdomesticus@gmail.com







Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}