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looking for some cheap ideas for mulch in the garden

Can I really use newspapers for a mulch in the garden? how do i know if the ink is the right ink? a read something about soy base?

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All US newspapers these days are printed with soy based inks. No problem.

For mulching paths to keep weeds out or sheet mulching like to smother grass, just lay down a bunch of thicknesses of newspaper.

If you are talking about mulching your flower and veggie beds, I think whole newspaper is a bit smothery, cuts down on air and water circulation. But shredded newspaper is fine.

Other cheap mulch: grass clippings, fall leaves (last fall I drove around and picked up 8 yard waste bags of leaves people had put out at the curb for pick up; I use them for mulch and for "browns" in my compost pile; haven't finished using them up yet), wood chips (they are free if you make your own - I invested $100 in a small chipper and now have free wood chips). I recently spent $6 on a bale of straw, but it is huge, will mulch everything in my small garden for a long time to come.
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Well, I believe most newsprints are soy base these days. It may tell you right on the paper some where. You could also go to that particular papers web site and check.

I use shredded paper, at times, in the duck house and rabbit hutches. It soaks up the manures and urine. Then it is distrbuted around my fruit trees and berries or composted. :wink:

Using dry shredded paper in the garden is just to difficult to deal with. I would use sheets of paper around individual plants and down aisles. Several layers to suppress weeds and I would personal cover with compost or straw for looks. :)

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What they said. :lol:

I am a grass man myself. My yard grows like crazy so i have plenty for mulching composting and grasscycling.

You could mix shredded paper and grass for eve better mulch, you would have your greens and browns all in one nifty package. I myself wouldn't use shredded paper without grass due the windy nature here. It would be everywhere. I add bags of it to my compost but only if i have a bag of grass clippings ready to hold it down. :D

Another thing if you go with grass clippings it might be best to let them sit for a short while to brown up before adding. They break down fast and when fresh will actually rob nutrients out of your soil of course they will be replaced during the decomposition process but than you are not ahead but back to where you started. I have put on fresh clipping my whole life without any disaster but from now on I am going to let the age a bit first. Just to be safe.

Good luck

Oh yeah leaves too what am I thinking another good mulch added with grass even better.

Same with straw.

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If you ask nicely you can sometimes get moldy hay for free if you can take it away ;).

Dollar store garbage bags work well.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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Grass clippings were found to increase the yield of tomato plants as much as red plastic. I believe you should apply them as a mulch once the plants need staked.
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I'm planning on getting a round bale of straw (approx 15 small square bales) to spread in the garden. Just look on craigslist in your area.. I get mine for ~$30 max.

Do you have a city nearby with a recycling center, or the waste management pics up the branches/clippings? For $10 a 2 yd scoop I can get mulch and compost from our recycling center loaded on Friday afternoons.. all other times it's free with your own muscle.
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nes wrote:If you ask nicely you can sometimes get moldy hay for free if you can take it away ;).

Dollar store garbage bags work well.
Hay has seeds in it. Be careful with that stuff.

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/\ Yes, but I haven't found them hard to deal with, especially when they are small you just move the hay, scoop up the seedlings & replace.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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I'm also using spoiled hay. My neighbor delievered a large round ball, enough for the entire season and more. I think that by the time the hay has gotten spoiled that most of the seeds will have lost their viability. Also as the previous poster said, the seeds are very little trouble with a little monitoring to stay on top of the potential problem. In our garden the hay is placed on top of a barrier, so the seeds only have limited areas in which to grow anyway.
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My DH mow's our lawn and when I need extra mulch for our bed's (the soil is very poor and I am focusing on fixing it up this summer) He offer's to mow the neighbor's lawn! That way I get plenty of grass clipping's for my compost pile to cover all the kitchen scraps and I get plenty of mulch to go around my front flower bed's to break down and hold moisture! It's a win win WIN because then I have Extra space in my trash bin's and don't have to put the can out as often. Plus the DH love's how easy it is to empty that bag when all he has to do is dump it in the beds lol.
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