Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thrifty Thursday: Weed Control

This week, hubby stumbled across a genius idea while surfing the web for weed control ideas. You see, we have this "side bed" on the right of our house that usually looks likes this . . . 

Our hopes were to transplant some hostas, tiger lilies and peonies that we already have into this bare space in order to give it some much-needed (free) love. But the more we got to planning, the more we realized we had a lot of work ahead of us . . .tilling the ground, laying plastic to block weeds, dividing plants, planting said plants, mulching, etc. And since it's fall in Upstate NY already, and we're still working on a kitchen remodel, we're sort of late to the transplanting party. 

So, we decided to wait on planting until next year, but we still knew we wanted to get the ground prepped and ready. Enter hubby's genius discovery.

He read online that you can cover your ground in old newspaper, wet it, and lay 2 inches of mulch on top to kill weeds. And as luck would have it, our town just dropped off a huge pile of free mulch down at the local park for all the residents.

Free mulch? Recycled newspaper that we already own? We had no excuse not to kick those weeds to the curb and get this project behind us.

The only dilemma was that we don't have a truck, so we brainstormed ways to get the mulch back home in our cars and this is what we settled on . . .

I know it's not the most environmentally friendly way, but when free mulch is screaming at you and all you own are small cars, you learn to improvise for the sake of frugality. We ended up loading Nathan's car down with roughly 10 bags of mulch.

Then we brought it all home and started to work on our newspaper barrier. We laid down a thick layer of newspaper across the entire bed (after we weeded it some), and then soaked it down with the water hose. 

Oh, and we also read online that you want to use the actual newspaper and not those glossy inserts or store ads, as those tend to have different ink on them that could damage your soil.

Then we took our bags of mulch and poured them right on top of the newspaper. 

Then we smoothed it all over with our rakes.

And 2 hours later, we were done weeding and prepping our beds for winter and we hadn't spent a single dime!


Of course, I'll be anxious in the spring to see how our newspaper barrier holds up, so I'll be sure to do an update once it's weed season again.

So, how about you? Have you ever tried controlling weeds with recycled newspaper? If not, what's your method of controlling those pesky boogers? I'd love to hear!


  1. You two are very resourceful! It sure can't hurt to try this. We put leftover shingles down in a garden pathway to keep down weeds. Worked pretty well.

  2. I've heard of the wet newspaper trick but have never tried it. I will have to remember it and try it next year!

  3. The newspaper does work. We did it in our garden this year and had very few weeds if any. Now you have a whole cold season to research and plan out types of flowers you like and how to set them up. Oh the fun!!!

  4. Oh my word I wish I would have known this in May!! I was picking weeds 9 months pregnant all summer. I was just saying to my husband that next year we have a lot of work ahead of us with the plastic stuff, but I will definitely be trying the newspaper first. You gotta love free!

  5. Nice work guys! =) I like the look of the bed against the house like that and what a great idea!


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