I was driving back to the nursery the other day and some  litter lout had discarded a couple of newspapers on the roadside and they were blowing all over the carriageway as each vehicle drove past and I got to thinking “Over the years what a great friend the newspaper has been to the gardener”

I mean, how many times have we spread newspapers over young plants and seedlings to protect them from frost?  We were all doing this before the invention of fleece.

Now in the era of “reduce, reuse and recycle” and with almost all ink used in newsprint being soy based savvy gardeners are finding many other uses for old newspapers.

Torn up or shredded newsprint makes an excellent addition to the compost heap, it also makes an excellent mulch around plants where it will help retain moisture and will enrich the soil as it decomposes.

If several pages are used together it can be a very useful barrier to stopping weeds germinating, especially under a layer of mulch.

An old friend of mine who excels at growing vegetables wraps his celery and leeks in several layers of newspaper before earthing them up to blanch. It helps keep the plants clean and once again enriches the soil as it decomposes.

I have often shaded cold frames with sheets of newspaper when germinating seeds, that’s a tip my grandfather taught me.

I was also reading the other afternoon about a little mould for making pots out of old newspapers.  I thought this a great idea, biodegradable pots for seedlings and young plants for free.

The list of uses a gardener can find for old newspaper is almost endless. Obviously the litter lout who discarded the newspapers by the roadside was no gardener.

Remember to use newsprint and not the glossy magazine paper which is much harder to reuse in the garden.