Extra! Extra! Read all about it! No more black plastic!!
One thing I hate seeing in gardens it that black plastic. Sure it will help prevent weeds from growing in your garden for a period of time, but it has so many more cons than it does pros. It will not compost, that means it will sit there forever, until it gets moved to a landfill and then it will sit there forever. Weeds may not be able to push through but your plants can’t either. There are many types of spreading plants that won’t be able to do their job if plastic is used. It’s ugly. When the mulch on top of your plastic starts to compost (and it will) it turns to soil making a nice little spot for weeds to grow ON TOP of your plastic.
Newspaper is a great alternative to black plastic. It’s a thick enough layer that weeds can’t push their way through but sturdier plants can. Most people recycle this anyway, why not recycle it the most natural way there is? Give it back to the earth. The newspaper will start to compost after some time. Not only does this help the environment but it helps your garden by adding nutrients to the soil. Your plants will eat it up! The newspaper will hold water as well, so it’s like an extra layer of mulch.
I can hear you now thinking “But if it composts don’t I have to replace it?” Why yes, yes you do. But you have to replace top soil and mulch in your garden seasonally as well. You would of had to fix that plastic after it was tore up and moved around. Just replace the newspaper seasonally with your average garden work. Instead of adding layer on top of layers of trash to your garden, you will be adding layer on top of layer of compost and nutrients.
If you live in a particularly windy area (shout-out to Kansas!) and having a difficult time getting the newspaper to stay put while you work with it try this helpful tip. Wet the paper down first. Wet newspaper is heavier and and molds to the ground easier.
If want to be even more eco-friendly and give your garden an extra boost, use grass clippings as mulch on top of the newspaper.
What are some of your experiences with using newspaper in your garden? Share them in the comments below!