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4 Ways to Use Recycled Paper in Your Garden

Categories: Ideas and Innovation
ways to recycle paper in your garden

An old nursery rhyme asks: How does your garden grow? We’d like to offer a new, sustainable answer: With help from recycled paper in your garden.

As amateur and even professional gardeners prepare for spring planting, many of them will use a sustainable resource — paper — in their gardens.

Paper, which is made from wood fiber, is naturally biodegradable and offers many benefits to the plants growing in your garden.

Here are four ways you can recycle paper products to improve your soil, reduce reliance on pesticides and enjoy your garden’s bounty:

1. Use paper products as sustainable mulch.

Newspaper, cardboard or other paper-based products can be used as sheets of mulch in areas of the garden where you’d like to suppress weeds, retain moisture, regulate ground temperature and reduce your reliance on chemical pesticides. You can also use shredded paper in your garden to mulch around plants. Paper will slowly biodegrade, but before it does, it will help keep plants moist and prevent weeds from growing.

2. Let paper enhance your compost.

Recycling paper products by shredding them and adding them to compost not only keeps the paper out of landfills but also contributes to healthier garden soil. Shredded brown paper bags, used coffee filters and tea bags, newspaper or small pieces of cardboard serve as the “browns” to complement other plant matter in compost.

3. Start your seeds in paper pots.

Seedling pots made of newspaper or other paper-based products offer advantages to gardeners. In these small pots, gardeners can give particular attention to plants at their earliest stages of life, moving them to ideal places for light or watering. When the plants are ready to go into the ground, they can be transplanted in the same paper pot, which will naturally decompose in the soil. You can also create your own paper pots using empty cardboard toilet paper rolls or even a paper egg carton — an easy way to user recycled paper in your garden.

4. Use paper in your garden to identify plants.

When you’ve finished the hard work of preparing your soil and getting your seeds started, you’ll want to mark what’s growing where. Paper labels on stakes can help you easily identify what’s underground until the leaves or flowers sprout. After you’ve harvested herbs or vegetables, you can use creative paper labels in your kitchen to identify your bounty.