One Green Thing: Newspaper is good for more than wrapping fish!

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

If you are a seed starter, you can make your own starter pots. Take one layer of paper (you may have to fool with figuring out the size…start with maybe a half a page) and wrap around something about the size of a baby food jar…do not roll it so tight you cannot remove the jar later. Leave 1 inch overhang on one end. Fold that overhang in and tape off (you have just made the bottom of the pot). Remove the jar, and tuck in all the edges to the height you want for your pot.

If you have some pieces left, shred them up for the compost pile. You could take one of those mesh onion bags; stuff it with scraps of newspaper (or even tiny fabric scraps) for the birds to choose some nesting material. Still have more scraps? Grab them and mix them in with your dryer lint for kindling for your next fire.

And my personal favorite…before mulching, cover the bed with about four or five layers of newspaper to help control the weeds. I have not tried this, but my friend was getting ready to plant bulbs (and making a new bed)…instead of digging up the sod or using chemicals to kill the grass, she covered the area she intended with newspaper, dug the holes for the bulbs through the paper, and then mulched. Haven’t seen it yet, but I’m betting those daffodils look great! When I think of daffodils, I am reminded of the article about a woman who planted just two or three dozen daffodil bulbs every year. The photograph of the “field of daffodils” looked fabulous…and it always makes me wish I had done it.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the May 5-11, 2010 issue

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