Newspaper recycling and your garden

Wed. Feb. 27, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Newspaper recycling and your garden

While I don’t always enjoy the news, I’ve always enjoyed getting the big Sunday paper.  

I’d really hate to see print go away completely although I understand the push to electronics, spreading the paper out and reading while enjoying a cup of coffee isn’t something I want to give up.  However, what do you do with newsprint?

There are actually a number of things besides the recycling bin.  

  • One is the compost bin. In the summertime, if your compost bin is starting to smell like ammonia, shred some newspaper and toss it in.  While greens add nitrogen, the paper adds carbon. A good mix for your compost bin. You can shred it or add strips.  

  • When starting a garden bed, I’ve used 3 layer sheets of newspaper as a weed barrier.  It works like landscape fabric but degrades over time and you don’t have to fight through fabric to change a planting.  
This was in 2012.
  • If you use a coldframe, line it with newspaper for more insulation.
cold frame
  • I’ve used newspaper to wrap green tomatoes for winter ripening.  Granted those tomatoes aren’t nearly as flavorful as those ripened on the vine, but when you have an abundance of green tomatoes at a time when frost is coming, it’s a way to at least get some fresh tomatoes for cooking.  The paper helps keep them from rotting. 
  • And a fun project that you can get started on in a few weeks is using newspaper for seed starting. There are wooden forms you can buy that twist the paper into a little pot.


  • If you want to slow down the loss of moisture in your flower pots, cut a few layers of newspaper to fit the bottom of the container.  This will slow the loss of moisture while still allowing oxygen and irrigation to pass through.