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shredded paper ? ? ?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We have one of those criss cross shredders. I think about all the shredded paper that we throw out a week and wonder if there would be anything wrong with saving it and tilling it into the soil. I know people use news papers placed in the walk rows of their gardens to keep the weeds from coming up there, one less place to weed, right. They need to be put down rather thick and wet to do the job. My point is, at the end of the growing season the paper gets tilled into the soil, no harm no foul. I think the shredded paper would be excellent for the soil, basically it is cellulose fiber or wood, that since it is shredded, will rapidly break down and even it it took longer it would aerate your soil.


So, what do you think? Do you agree that this would be okay for the soil. We go out and buy compost to make our soil better, I really don't see much difference between the two. Let me know what you think.












post #2 of 14

I've heard of it being done, and I think you are correct it would decompose rapidly.

post #3 of 14
I think it would work. My only concern would be coated or glossy papers.

post #4 of 14

I used it as mulch.  Works fine,  keep it damp or cover with something a bit heavier like pine bark so it doesn't blow away.  May need a bit more nitrogen in the soil if planting vegs.

post #5 of 14

Madd Fox, morning.....  I used to compost all the shredded stuff....  Makes great soil...   It does need extra nitrogen to break down.... I added Ammonium Sulfate.....   You can always add other nutrients to your compost too....  Mag, Zinc, Boron, etc.. then the compost is "full flavored" and ready for the plants....   Look for Rhody /Azalea food... It usually has all the nutrients needed for a healthy garden....



post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Dave for the much needed information, you can bet I'll be using it. Here in Indy we have a generous amount of clay, so the first concern for me was amending it so it would stay loose. Sand is pretty cheap and I ordered some extra when I had a load brought in for my grand kid's sand box here, it's kind of big.

Doug mentioned a concern about the glossy paper, I suspect that it is a plastic solution they put on it, someone might help with this, I think the main thing is that it won't break down for a long time. That isn't a bad thing though, I have put coco hulls in my soul in the past just to keep it aerated. Only did that one time though, it didn't break down but I didn't feel I got a big enough bang for my buck. When I was a kid, there was a old couple that lived next door, they had the oldest house in the area. The only reason I mentioned that was that they had a beautiful garden that was highly productive and they had put A LOT OF coal cinders in it. I never saw the method they used, like did they just let nature break the clunks up with freezing and thawing, or did they break them up before they put them in the soil, When I finally noticed their soil, the biggest piece was no more than 1/8". I suspect that not only did the cinders make the soil loose but I'm thinking that it might have added maybe potash to the soil. I know that they never had any kind of power equipment to assist them with their garden, so it was very important to have the soil very loose so they could cultivate it with a push type cultivator, even loose that had to be hard work. Their garden was probably 100' X 60', it was an important factor in their budget. It is true that necessity is the mother of invention. 

post #7 of 14

Madd Fox, morning....  I have heard adding sand to clay can be good.... then others say sand in clay makes cement.....  others say add ammonium sulfate to clay.....  

I have heard alfalfa roots will grow 15-20 feet in clay and break it up.....  I hired a guy with a tractor and rototiller... He tilled for 2 hours on the clay and sod.... added 8" three way mix top soil and he tilled for another 2 hours on a 15x50 patch for me.... That worked...  Clay sucks but it does hold moisture....  Worms will till the soil, if you live ling enough....  Now I live where the soil is sand...

Good luck.... Dave

post #8 of 14

I use it as a fire starter.Just put a few handfulls in a ziploc bag, then dump about 1/4 cup of cooking oil. Works great for campfire tinder or even for starting a charcoal chimney.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

THAT ! is a good idea. We have an outdoor fire place (wood burning) and that will come in handy.



post #10 of 14

Hey Mad Fox, I add mine to my compost bin and my chicken coop.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey Dave, I think you are probably right about the sand. It can't be the only thing you add to clay, but if you add it along with other things that will break down, all together it will make you some outstanding soil. The thing I liked the best was the wood shavings and saw dust from a mill, it is free. There are so many things we let go to the land fills that could be useful in our gardens, I have a container under my kitchen sink that I put coffee grounds into which will eventually make it into my flower or garden beds. I should be putting egg shells in there as well. I don't know how useful this is for really large gardens but it sure is practical for a back yard garden patch.

People that have horses probably wish some one would help themselves to the manure that keeps piling up. You have to be careful with this stuff, I had a friend that had horses and he had a barn that was really deep in the stuff (previous owner's horses). I got several trailer loads full, I was sure glad to get it (free) until the growing season started, as it turned out I was growing more oats than anything else in my garden. Horse manure is really great for your garden, but get it where they are feeding their horses food pellets rather than grain. The horses spill as much grain as they eat, or it seems that way. Oh, by the way you want the old stuff, not the fresh. It really doesn't smell bad, now the same cannot be said about pig manure, WHEEEUUUUU


post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

This is great! Sharing ideas like this. Like I mentioned to Dave, so many things go to the land fill that could be used and we turn around and purchase basically the same thing from Lowe's.

I'm really not mad, You dropped my wife's middle initial, I'm MA and she is DD.icon_smile.gif



post #13 of 14

I take shredded paper, newspaper, pieces of cardboard and bust up remains of candles into marble sized chunks to start my fireplace with.  Build a little pile under the grate of paper, cardboard pieces, and three or five pieces of candle, stack on top of the grate some branches, then 2-3 small logs and toss on a couple ¼ cut logs on top and throw in a couple lit matches in the bottom;  nice fire in 10 minutes, no problem!  No having to use fire starter bricks or fake logs or anything else expensive!

post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by madd fox View Post

This is great! Sharing ideas like this. Like I mentioned to Dave, so many things go to the land fill that could be used and we turn around and purchase basically the same thing from Lowe's.

I'm really not mad, You dropped my wife's middle initial, I'm MA and she is DD.icon_smile.gif




Madd Fox....Howdy..know this is a lil' late in the conversation.....shredded paper is great for the garden...just Don't use the glossy colored paper, try to stay away from Colors...They are Toxic...I would till them in in the fall so they rot over the winter. Tilling them in during planting season makes it hard to plant...My garden is bout 2 acres and Beautiful Black rich soil....I always stop the Chipper Trucks with the wood chips and give them my address...Rotted, wood chips will turn that clay into nice workable soil......As for Manure.....make sure you Compost it first....that will kill the Seeds and the Bad organisms that you don't want in the garden....EVER hear about Botulism's makin people sick after eatin SPINACH....remember that?  Yes, composting kills organisms, good and bad...What it does is break the product down so the plants can use it and your WORMS in the garden can eat it....Worm Poop is the ONLY poop you want in the garden...Happy Gardening...



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