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Using Paper Grocery Bags as Weed Barrier in the Garden — 21 Comments

  1. Watch the Back to Eden Garden Film. It’s free on YouTube and I’ve not had to weed since laying the initial mulch. We have very sandy soil and extreme heat and humidity, so I lay down cardboard boxes (from all our Amazon orders) between the garden beds with mulch overtop. The carboard takes much longer to breakdown and the weeds tend to sprout under it and die. I do use paper bags too and they work well, but as you’ve said, decompose faster.
    To go permanently weed and till free:
    Pull all the weeds, add lots of compost all over the garden, lay cardboard through all the paths and around the edge of the garden. Use sticks or something to mark where your rows are. Deep mulch the whole shebang with dye-free preferably hardwood mulch or a free dump truck load from a local tree trimming service. You can then just move the mulch aside making a little bird nest shape in the mulch and plant your transplants right in with a scoop of compost and/or sprinkling of fertilizer. Your weeding days are now over!

    • You may need to add a couple inches of mulch every other year depending on how fast it composts on top of the soil, but seriously, you conserve massive amounts of water and never have to weed.

    • That sounds like a great idea–I’ll just have to find some better mulch. Pine straw that heavy can cause acidification. We do have a lot of timber production around here, so wood chips might be feasible if I find the right contact. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great idea! Weeding is definitely the worst part of gardening. All that mulch is great for keeping the soil moist and conserving with water with the droughts everyone has been having too. Found your post at Thursday Favorite Things. Thanks for sharing.

    • We also add a lot of farm compost to our garden so we have GREAT soil right now. The weeds love it as much as the good plants, but if we can keep them under control, we have a very productive garden.

  3. I do the same with my animal feed sacks (as in France everyone uses reusable bags for groceries) – and like you it helps keep me on top of the weeds that always sneak up when I look away for 5 minutes! #MMBC

    PS – I host a monthly linky called Going Green and would love to see you link up if you wanted to – it’s open now! 💚

    • That’s a good idea too. I think our feed bags have plastic in them so they would work, but wouldn’t be as green. I’ve started trying to turn some of our feed bags into tote bags because I hate the waste.

  4. This is such good advice! We actually use feed bags (from pigs & cattle) which are thicker (about 4 ply at least) and are coated with a thin shiny film that I find takes longer to break down. The other thing that really helps defeat the weeds for us is to mulch chopped straw (dead leaves or bark would also work) between the rows. I’m a VERY lazy gardener!
    I came to visit from Chicken Chick’s bloghop; I hope you’ll have time one day to visit the 4Shoes & let me know that you’ve been by.

  5. i put the bagger on the lawn mower and us the grass clipping for my mulch over the newspaper or brown bags

  6. Just came upon your site while shopping for paper mulch. I be been using paper shopping bags for years, as well as cardboard, and, principally, the black and white parts of newspapers because I have the most of that, but still not enough ( I put it down in books). The paper gets covered with leaves to keep it damp, and add biomass. Have used baled straw, but from this have grown VERY impressive tall straw grass. If I can get this cut before getting too big and tough with seed heads, I use this for mulch, too. But there’s never enough, which is why I am looking to buy. Have used “weed block” material in the past, which does not work well, and has to be periodically removed and trashed, which is a horrible waste of time, material and money. The view promulgated for many years that wood chips robbed nitrogen from the soil has, I believe, now been disproved. So, this should be helpful, as well as sometimes free. Also, the chopped straw someone mentioned earlier seems to have far fewer seeds, and is definitely easier to snuggle up around tender plants.
    Keep on keeping on. Love your blog and will signup.

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