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Re: newspapers

On Thu, 9 Sep 1999 21:30:31 -0400 "James Shepherd" <jashep@usit.net>
>    Can anybody tell me about the possible dangers of using newspapers 
>as a way to kill grass where one want's to make a flower/garden bed?  
>My girlfriend is trying to do some resarch on the subject for a 
>professor at VA. Tech.  I was hoping that this would be a good place 
>to ask.  
>                                Thanks to any who reply,
>                                        Thomas

I've had great success using newspapers to help turn my former "lawn"
into perennial beds and borders. After using a garden hose to lay out the
outline of the bed, I use a grub axe to remove a 4-inch swath of sod
around the perimeter. I then place a layer of newspaper (3-5 sheets
thick) over the whole bed, from edge to edge, covering it with a 3-inch
layer of mulch as I go. I leave the sod in the middle to break down and
add to the organic matter in the soil. As I want to plant in the bed, I
push back the mulch, dig a hole (I find a shovel cuts through the paper
just fine), amend it as necessary, and plant. Then I replace the mulch
around the plant and water well. It's a quick-and-dirty way to make a lot
of lawn into a planting bed with less time and labor than "doing it
right" would entail. I avoid using paper that is slick or in color; these
days, most black newsprint is printed with soy-based inks. Also, because
these are ornamental beds, I'm not as concerned about plant up-take of
unwanted elements as I would be in my vegetable beds. (Those, by the way,
I still make the old-fashioned way, with a lot of hard work and compost.)

I've found the newspaper to be quite effective in keeping plants of the
former lawn from popping up in the beds. 

Jennifer Barricklow
New Haven, CT

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