Friday, March 25, 2016

Shredded Paper

Having just harvested sweet potatoes, I'm digging in some rabbit manure and shredded paper. Why shredded paper? Because I'm out of compost at the moment. And I'm low on grass clippings. But I do happen to have 6 trash bags full of shredded paper. Sooooo, use whatcha got, is what I say.

While shredded paper lacks most of the attributes of compost, it does have a few assets. It will help retain soil moisture, first off. The location of this little garden bed is heavy with cinder and a powdery "soil" which strives to be hydrophobic. Getting it to stay moist is a challenge. A couple of years ago it was an impossibility. The absolutely only crop that would survive was sweet potatoes, and even those struggled. But now I can get a variety of crops to produce. Every year things get a bit better. 

The shredded paper is also liked by the worms. When I've used shredded paper in the past, I notice quite a few more worms. 

Basically shredded paper is a soil conditioner. I wouldn't rely upon it as a fertilizer. And I don't apply it thickly, causing paper mâché gobs to form. I just mix some in to help with moisture and to lighten up the soil. 

Is there an ick factor with paper? Possibly. I'm not sure. Most of what I read claims that shredded paper is safe. 

1 comment:

  1. On Maui, poet WS Merwin used lots of shredded paper to restore land damaged from pineapple plantations (high chemicals, depleted soil, etc) using lots of office paper. It was very successful, and he grows endangered palms at the Merwin Conservancy.