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gixxerific
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Large quantities of shredded paper in the fall garden

I have 4 of those paper lawn bags full of shredded paper. I was planning on putting this down than manure/compost this fall and mixing it in. Does anyone see a problem with this.

I already put down a bunch earlier under my willows before I put down some shredded bark mulch it worked great. Got rid of my paper without having to use a landfill. But there it was a diff story. I would think this paper would break down before next spring. At least to a point where it is not causing a nutrient imbalance.

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I don't see a problem. There are sites that say this is a good thing to compost. Now, I can't say about the amount of ink content on the paper but with all the green that's going on, I would think that this isn't a problem. I would think that this would also be a good mulch to keep weeds down. I'm sure others,will chime in, so I'll be watching for my own FYI.

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If it's a huge quantity it might favour fungi, good food to raise fungi levels, but as you are also putting compost bacteria should fare well too so it shouldn't upset the balance.
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I do it all the time the earth worms are very partial to shreaded paper, that is how I increased their numbers, from almost none to bountiful and I just used paper and compost, if the manure is fresh then that is a different issue that has nothing to do with the paper.
Of course if you are talking some really small garden area then you can easily get too much of anything on it.

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Re: Large quantities of shredded paper in the fall garden

gixxerific wrote:I have 4 of those paper lawn bags full of shredded paper. I was planning on putting this down than manure/compost this fall and mixing it in. Does anyone see a problem with this.

I already put down a bunch earlier under my willows before I put down some shredded bark mulch it worked great. Got rid of my paper without having to use a landfill. But there it was a diff story. I would think this paper would break down before next spring. At least to a point where it is not causing a nutrient imbalance.
It will be fine, but use black and white only - no color inserts or colored paper. Make sure it's shredded as finely as possible to insure it breaks down quickly. When I've been lazy about shredding, I've found wads of paper balled up in my compost pile months later.

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gixxerific
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Most if not all inks are soy based now so the colors aren't really a problem.

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applestar
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Remember, though, that many office papers are printed with laser printers that use toner -- fine particles of essentiallyplastic melted onto the paper.

You've done this already right? How do they look? I'm thinking they should be roiling with earthworms by now. 8)

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Just a thought, but after reading this and other things concerning shreaded paper and worms. I wonder if given a choice would worms prefer a thick mulch of leaves or paper? Of course you gotta ask what type of paper and leaves...but in the end I think they'd perfer the leaves, but if you got the paper, by all means use it.

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gixxerific
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Yes Apple I did this a few days ago see here;
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=40429

It really hasn't done much yet I do plan on adding more grass and compost this weekend to get it going faster. I did the above in both beds but the one in the link may have been a little thick. LOL.

I hope it. Breaks down by next spring

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I use shredded paper for mulch all year long. I always have many bags of it to use. It makes a great mulch anytime, keeps the strawberries clean and the weeds down. I also pile it on top of the cardboard for new areas and areas where I don't want grass and weeds growing.

Shredded paper is a wood product and absorbs nitrogen as it decomposes so you do need to add some to the soil, but old manure takes care of that.

It makes fabulous chicken litter for that very reason and they love it!

However, it is strange looking, being so white and all. People are always taking a closer look at it and asking what that is.

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Runningtrails wrote:Shredded paper is a wood product and absorbs nitrogen as it decomposes so you do need to add some to the soil, but old manure takes care of that.
I've always heard that, but then I read The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott and she basically says it's one of those horticultural myths, here's a link to her website https://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%20Chalker-Scott/Horticultural%20Myths_files/Myths/magazine%20pdfs/Woodchips.pdf

It's addressed on the top of page 3 (listed as page 23).

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john gault wrote:
Runningtrails wrote:Shredded paper is a wood product and absorbs nitrogen as it decomposes so you do need to add some to the soil, but old manure takes care of that.
I've always heard that, but then I read The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott and she basically says it's one of those horticultural myths, here's a link to her website https://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%20Chalker-Scott/Horticultural%20Myths_files/Myths/magazine%20pdfs/Woodchips.pdf

It's addressed on the top of page 3 (listed as page 23).
Thanks for the link. She says:

[myth?\ Before installing wood chips, create a
thin underlying layer of a more nutrientrich
mulch (like compost) if there are
concerns about nutrient deficiencies:
This “mulch sandwichâ€
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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I agree Rainbow. My only point was that wood chips and such do not suck up nitrogen as I've heard so much.

A little story, when I first heard of this myth (nitrogen-sucking wood chips) a few years ago I went and got tons and tons of coffee from starbucks in order to re-introduce nitrogen to the soil around my trees. At the time my live oak was dropping tons of leaves, many more that I've seen it drop before, so I thought it was from me starving it of nitrogen; turns out waste of time after I read Linda Chalker-Scott's book.

Personally I don't like using wood chips anymore, because I've found that it is troublsome to dig into when planting plants, so now I've opt to exclusively use leaves, since I'm always planting stuff. To me wood chips are only good around areas that just sit there, but I'm always planting something... :lol: :wink:

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gixxerific
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john gault wrote: Personally I don't like using wood chips anymore, because I've found that it is troublsome to dig into when planting plants, so now I've opt to exclusively use leaves, since I'm always planting stuff. To me wood chips are only good around areas that just sit there, but I'm always planting something... :lol: :wink:
I couldn't have said it better meyself. That is why I stopped using wood chips after the first year I did use them many many moons ago.

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You know the hassle then.

Just the other day I transplanted some silvery sunproof lilyturf to my first garden spot (near my Meyers Lemon tree) in which I first used wood chips a few years ago, but since have always used leaves. It's as if the wood chips become part of the soil, I'd have to dig way down to get below the layer of chips, too far down for the plant. I also think leaf mulch attracts a larger variety of beneficial insects/decomposers, including more worms.

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gixxerific wrote:
john gault wrote: Personally I don't like using wood chips anymore, because I've found that it is troublsome to dig into when planting plants, so now I've opt to exclusively use leaves, since I'm always planting stuff. To me wood chips are only good around areas that just sit there, but I'm always planting something... :lol: :wink:
I agree as well. Wood chips have been a pain to me if in a spot that gets constant traffic.

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I am glad to hear the paper doesn't use up the nitrogen in the soil. I use a lot of it! The little shredded paper is better because it doens't blow around as much as the big stuff. The paper makes a soft solid mulch after a few rains. I thinks it the cellulose as it breaks down that sort of glues it together. This makes it especially hard for weeds to grow through it but still lets the water in and once wet, stays in place.

I like it as a mulch, just wish it were brown instead of so white.
Last edited by Runningtrails on Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tilde
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Runningtrails wrote:
I like it as a mulch, just with it were brown instead of so white.
Pour a few pots of cold coffee on it.
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

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I actually throw away a lot of paper waste into my kitchen-scraps bucket that's used for composting.

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We save most newspapers and household paper, mail etc for the kindling box and use it to start fires in the winter. Tissues and some papertowels get burned too, some go into the compost.

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You got a great mix going its going to be a very nice garden spot for you. I think you got it just right mixing the compost in and all the other goodies it should make for a very good textured soil nice and loose. The only other thing I would suggest is rock dust and a lot of it...

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I like the coffee idea! I can get coffee grounds from Starbucks, but just a bag full at a time. Thankfully, I have lots of my own I could save out of the compost bucket just to top the paper mulch. Great idea! I might start a separate coffee grounds bucket just for that...

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In addition to Starbucks check your local gas station. They brew almost as much coffee as Starbucks. I drop off a 5 gallon bucket weekly at the station where I fill up the Carafe! % gallons a week of grounds and the staff like not having to lug that heavy trash bag around!



And after awhile, they started giving me the old fruit as well, couple of pounds of old apples, banana, and leftover fruit salad a week are a nice addition to the pile!

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