5 Ways to Use Newspaper in the Garden

Ways to Use Newspaper in the Garden

Newspaper has always been popular with gardeners – and it still is. But as awareness grows of what’s good for the health of our soil and ourselves, it’s important to check what newspapers contain before you use them (to find out, phone the publisher!). When you’re satisfied there’s no concern about toxicity – the sky’s the limit as to what you can use newspapers for in your garden.

Earwig traps

Pesky earwigs ruin flowers while they are still in the bud by nibbling away at pretty petals. But the good news is, these insects hide away in crevices at night, out of reach of the cold. To trap earwigs, loosely screw up a sheet of newspaper, and secure it lightly with string. In the evening, tie or push the ball of paper into the foliage around your flowers. In the morning, gather the balls of paper up and shake them into a bucket to release any earwigs that are inside. Remove the pests from the garden.

Apple storage

Home grown apples keep longer when gently protected from each other with a layer of paper. The more air you can create around the apple as you wrap, the better, so scrunch the paper gently as you wrap. To store the apples, scrunch up sheets of newspaper, and line a carton with them. Place the wrapped apples on top of the newspaper. Repeat this layering until the carton is full. Store in a cool, dry, rodent-proof place.

Early potato protection

Frost cloths, like so many other garden materials, has its shelf life, and when it’s past it’s best, it’s just another piece of waste to go into the landfill. But when you’re done with your newspaper frost protection, it goes into the compost bin – and the worms love it! Frost occurs only on the stillest of nights, so sheets of newspaper can be used to protect the tender foliage of new potatoes without fear of it being blown away. Use a double layer of newspaper and place it loosely (not tightly) over the rows. Remove in the morning when the frost has lifted.

Holiday helper

Potted plants dry out so quickly in the heat of a sunny room. If you’re wanting to reduce moisture loss from your indoor plants while you’re away on a break, cut a 4 layer thick circle from sheets of newspaper (draw around a plate of similar diameter to the top of your planter, as a guide). Fold the circle into quarters to create a pie segment shape. Snip off the tip of the segment to create a hole in the circle. Open out the circle. Cut along one fold line until you reach the hole. Water your plant according to directions, then fit the circle of paper snugly around the base of the plant. Hold it in place with toothpicks if required.

Tool treatment

Treat your stored garden hand tools to some winter love by rubbing cooking oil into both wooden and metal parts. Lightly coat a sheet of newspaper in cooking oil (an old paint brush works well for this). Wrap each hand tool in the oiled newspaper and secure with string. This special care will prevent rusting over the dampest months, and help stop wooden handles drying out and splintering.

Newspaper in the garden is unbeatable, and you’re bound to find even more uses for it. When you do, be sure to tell us!