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Collect it, Soak it and Slap It Down -- DIY Junk Mail Gardening


Ah newspapers and junk mail! You gotta love em heaps. For me they are a major gardening resource.

I've worked out that if I tour the neighbourhood on a Thursday with  paper chasing in mind, I can collect more of  the stuff easier than on other days of the week.

Thursdays are two days after the delivery of the local press and well situated to corner any junk mail drop offs so there is more 'litter' to be had by the roadside.

Here the junk mail isn't letter boxed. Here it is thrown from passing cars onto nature strips. Here it is a major task for every house holder to pick up all the litter  that gets dumped on their doorsteps.

I fulfil a community service  by collecting  it after it has laid there, alone and unwanted  for a couple of days.

Tidy Town Dave.

Of course folk think I'm nuts.

I can relate to that.

But you see, I run a junk mail garden. Can't get enough of the stuff. I bury it and carpet the garden beds with it. To me when I look at all this paper all I see is mulch.

Harvey Norman latest. The Myer catalogue. The local Rupert Murdoch  'community' franchise... are  all wonderful stuff  for domestic decay.

Let it rot, I say. 

Of course, mulching with paper is de rigueur in some circles but I suspect  that it is abnormal to use as much of the stuff as I do. 

And because I use a lot of it I am getting  adept at exploring its utility. Usually I bury it as a form of trench mulching. I also pave the paths with it. And now, I'm back carpeting the garden beds with paper. 

Carpeting isn't my favorite activity as it is a fiddly business collaging the surface of the soil, segment by segment, with wet paper. I have to tuck it around the plants and cover all the weeds before throwing whatever I have to hand on top to anchor the paper sheets so that they don't blow away when they dry.

But slapping down wet paper is akin to papier mache-ing so it has a sort of sculptural feel about it that  I appreciate.

If it only staid wet...!

Since paper has a high Carbon to Nitrogen ratio (maybe over 150:1) I need to add extras such as manures or blood and bone to offset any leaching. But that's an improvisational business. It isn't such a big issue as the compost chefs assume. Since my primary mulch is grass clippings (20:1) with occasional chicken manure mixes (7:1) I'm confident that working with the soil and its inhabitants, ecology will rule the day in its own good time.

No need to mix or tumble. No recipe angst.

On beach sand, like me, so much paper adds texture to  a soil  that had little substance  in the first place  and holds water in a way that sand does not.



 

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