Thursday, February 14, 2008

Composting Tips

Using Shredded Paper as Mulch

Many people use shredded nonglossy paper in mulch or compost, where it typically degrades in a single season. Because paper is a wood product, you should regard it as a high-carbon soil additive, similar to sawdust. When using it to make compost, you will need to add plenty of nitrogen-rich green material. When using it as mulch, most gardeners cover it with a layer of organic mulch, such as leaves.

Laser printers use toner rather than ink, which usually contains plastics or waxes. The residual effects of toner in soil are unknown, but we know that soil active with plenty of fungi and bacteria does an amazing job of breaking down some synthetic materials. Still, if you want to grow the best possible food crops, avoid putting materials into the soil that are not natural, and bleached office paper, printed with wax or plastic-enhanced toners, definitely falls into the "unnatural" category.

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