May 6, 2020

Urban Gardening - Paper as Soil

One of the basic requirements is gardening is good soil to grow plants. However, in urban areas, sources of good soil are limited making it impossible to grow plants at home. In my previous post, there are several ways to prepare your soil for gardening.

Last weekend, while fixing our garbage, I saw a plastic bag full of scratch papers like old reviewers of Matthew, carton boxes, newspapers, and others. Instead of putting into the garbage bag, I used it in my “mini” urban garden. Yes, there are several uses of paper in gardening. 

One common and widely use of paper in gardening is mulching.
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Mulching is the method of retaining moisture in the soil, improving the soil fertility and reducing the growth of weeds. To start mulching, the paper is wet to facilitate decomposition then lay around the newly planted crop. The paper will allow the water at fertilizer to reach the soil thus reducing the sunlight and nutrition to the weeds.

Instead of using the bag of paper in mulching, I am going to use it as soil or compost.

Remember that paper came from trees thus, organic in nature. The shredded paper can be broken down the same way as other garden waste making the soil nutritious. However, there are still some restrictions in using paper as soil or planting material.

The decomposition of paper uses nitrogen from the soil. And this nitrogen is needed in the plant's growth. To counteract this, instead of paper alone, mix it with nitrogen-rich material upon composting. Grass, weeds pulled from the garden, or vegetable peelings are some nitrogen-rich materials.

How I made my compost using paper?

In a large pail with drain holes, since this is for urban gardening, put a layer of torn or shredded paper. 

Top this with garden soil or compost soil. I used the soil mixed with kitchen wastes like vegetable peels, eggshells, rotten fruits, etc.

Add another layer of torn or shredded paper.

Topped with sawdust. You can use rice hull or dried leaves or grass cuttings.

Finally, add a layer of compost soil or plant materials such as grass pulled from the garden, leaves collected from pruning, dried leaves, or chicken manure.

Water and let it stand for 3 days to 1 week before planting your vegetables.

I will make an update on my urban garden using paper as compost or soil.

Have you tried using paper in gardening too?

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