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Re: Re: Using newspapers

On Mon, 13 Sep 1999 12:00:09 -0500 dgkazmer@juno.com writes:

>To: jashep@usit.net
>Cc: community_garden@mallorn.com
>Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 07:58:40 -0700
>Subject: Re: [cg] Using  newspapers
>From: Dawn G Kazmer <dgkazmer@juno.com>
>They are really awful when you next try to fork over your dirt:   the
>fork doesn't go through that layer.     I used them in Ohio on my
>vegetables for 20 years but didn't use the colored pages.    I threw 
>inches of dirt on top to keep them from blowing.    By the next 
>they were part of the soil.
>	Here, near Phoenix, I put them under a layer of sawdust in a 
>path and
>this week was trying to turn them into the soil.......they didn't
>disintegrate as well as they did in Ohio where we had 43 inches of 
>each year.   I think I discovered this idea in Organic Gardening which
>you should evaluate first..........
>	I don't think it would work very well with Bermuda Grass.   

I can think of a couple of factors that might explain your very different
experiences with newspapers in the garden.

The most obvious is one you've already named: climate, particularly as it
relates to water. Newspaper in a bed would probably get more water, even
in Phoenix, than would newspaper in a path, because you'd water the bed
and not the path.

Another is the mulching material. Soil has a certain moisture level and
contains organisms who would be working on the newspaper from both sides.
Sawdust is pretty dry and much in need of decomposition itself. I imagine
that newspaper, subjected to identical weather and watering conditions,
would decompose much more readily under a layer of soil than it would
under a layer of sawdust. (Sounds like a great experiment for a school
classroom out there!)

Jennifer Barricklow
New Haven, CT

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