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Lasagna gardening and newspapers.

COUNTRYSIDE: AS usual I dropped everything when the July/August COUNTRYSIDE came to read it cover to cover. Lots of good stuff.

I wanted to pass along a warning about the "Lasagna Gardening" article though--don't try this for a food garden. By the time you have built up those layers of newspaper and mulch you will have a lot of paper in there and there are things in newspaper that you really do not want to be in the vegetables you eat. Black ink is still mostly carbon-based, but all the colored inks are made with chemicals that are bad for you, even some heavy metals like cadmium for the red colors. And newsprint is treated with dioxins to bleach it. In our local daily it is impossible to find more than a page or two without a color photo or colors used in ads, so while the advice to not use colored advertising sections is good, it is not enough. You can make a nice "lasagna" garden bed for food crops without using newspaper--layers of leaves, straw, topsoil, etc. will work just as well. If you need to kill grass that underlies your new bed, put out a layer of black plastic for 10 days, the heat generated will kill the grass, then take away the plastic and start layering.--Jim Morrison, morrison@bresnan.net

Most (but not all) newspapers now use soy-based inks with organic pigments to obtain color, however they may contain a petroleum product to speed drying time. If you do decide to use a newspaper with petroleum-free ink, keep an eye on your carbon/nitrogen ratio as the newspaper decomposes. To learn more visit: www.dirtdoctor.com/forum/archive.php/ o_t/t_1885/newspaper-in-compost.html.
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Author:Morrison, Jim
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:291
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