replacing peat moss with newspaper

Asked April 29, 2019, 9:25 PM EDT

I want to recycle our newspaper and thought it might be a substitute for peat moss in our garden. your thoughts on this idea? Thanks, Pat

Marion County Oregon compost soil amendments

3 Responses

Interesting question - thanks!

I guess it depends on what you hope to accomplish with peat moss as a soil amendment. Please respond with more details on that point.

However, I use plenty of shredded office paper in my compost as it absorbs water well, and breaks down rapidly - usually within about a week. It makes a nice balance to food scraps, with are very juicy. Newspaper could work just as well, although I do not use the slick colored papers. But the black inks are soy based, and should present no heavy metals problems.

Linda, thank you for your response, we are starting a garden and wanted to amend the soil with something to help our garden grow, I know paper doesn't have much in the way of nutrition but figured it would be better than in the recycle. Got the thought of glossy paper to omit also. again, thanks pat

Pat,

Thanks for the clarification. I would avoid using peat moss as it is essentially a mined material with associated environmental damage, not to mention the cost and carbon footprint.
Make a plan now for the fall when you can collect deciduous leaves - and if you live in town, it's even easier! Any of these things will increase soil organic matter - OSU Extension has a publication about that coming out in the next 2-4 months. Increasing soil organic matter is one way to increase biological activity and plant nutrients.
If your property has a mature fruit tree or two, you might be able to store leaves in trash bags under it without destroying the view :) . Alternatively, google something like "wire mesh bin." Sure, you can buy something, but a trip to the hardware store will also outfit you to make something yourself out of fencing. Poultry netting likely not sturdy enough. These bins can be made to about any size, and can hold tremendous amounts of leaves.
You can mulch with them or add them to compost.

So: you can start with paper, since it's what you have, and transition to leaves if you like.

Happy Gardening!