I'm thinking ahead for my garden and weed control. Mulch and grass clippings are great things to scatter on your garden once your plants are bigger to control weeds and trap heat (at least that's what people on the internet seem to say). Here's the problem - my lawn mower doesn't have a bag and I'm too lazy to rake up the grass clippings. Then comes in mulch, on the surface it's not too expensive - $3 for a bag of mulch, but if you need 6 or 7 bags, you're talking $20. It just seems like a lot for just some mulch. I mean, one of the benefits of gardening should be that the vegetables cost less than what you could buy them for, right? So far, including my little fence I bought, I'm up to about $36 spent on my gardening. $11 for seeds and those pod things, $10 for 6 tomato plants, $7 for my little fence & $8 for potting soil (I still have leftovers and used some in flowerpots). I'm not counting the flower cost because those were a gift from my husband. I think those were probably about $8 though.
So I've been researching using newspaper as mulch. The University of West Virginia put out a good article about it. You can read it HERE.
The Chicago Tribute reported in 2007 that newspaper is safe to use in the garden: HERE! The comment section is pretty funny - I guess someone doesn't agree!
And lastly, a very good article written by George Weigel at PennLive.com.
I guess there is still debate about whether or not the ink chemicals pose health risks (from what I gathered, most newspapers use soy ink or something organic like that. Not so us cheap gardeners can have free mulch, but so that the newspaper workers could work in a safe environment...) -BUT! The USDA recommends newspaper as mulch as well. I'll trust the USDA and make this my little experiment. Have you ever used newspaper as mulch? I'm not going to use things like the Parade magazine or more "glossy" inserts. But the regular sections I'm going to shred and try. This will be my cheap, Eco-friendly experiment...