How Thick a Layer of Newspaper is Best as a Weed Barrier?

by Laura
(Lubbock, TX)

Good Morning Charlotte!

Thanks YOU for your quick reply...

I am going to use the newspaper laid down under the raised thick should it be?

I did receive the recent newsletter.
Unfortunately, the videos would not show on my computer.

I am sorry to hear your trial at the potatoes in the garbage can did not turn out like you expected. I am definitely going to try it though...and am super excited about it.

If I could ask...what kind of potatoes did you use and explain to me the process of how you got the potatoes eyes - how big should I cut them - since I couldn't view the video, I am interested in what happened with your efforts.

I even laid awake for a bit last night 'dreaming' of my garden efforts!

I love going outside and looking at my efforts thus far...which consists of, right now, digging, digging and more digging...getting the soil turned, increasing the size of the beds and putting in new bed edging.

We will run over to our favorite nursery this weekend and buy some cotton burr compost ("Back to Nature" is the brand we use) with other amendments in it.

I dug a corner bed in the northeast part of my back yard that gets full sun, digging it into a 5 1/2 foot semi-circle and that is where we are going to plant various varieties of sunflowers, millet, and grain for the birds to come and feast upon.

Living here in Lubbock, Texas, we get tremendously hot summers...dust storms and hail storms. (In Spring they are the most fierce.)

This is my trial garden with raised beds for vegetables. We have literally taken out every plant from the flower beds...only leaving my 3 rose bushes and saving my day lilies and Oxalis by putting them in pots over the winter.

I gathered seeds from my coreopsis, larkspur, chives (will grow those things in pots from now on - Arnold Schwartzenegger roots!), garlic, and several other flowering plants, that I will plant next spring...and into the fall.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend...looks like we will have some pretty weather here...just perfect for getting out and playing in the yard!

Happy Gardening!

Lubbock, Texas


Hi Laura,

I am sorry to say that you seem to have a very very bad case of gardening fever! It can strike otherwise normal healthy people, and turn them into daydreamers, plotters, and diggers. Very dangerous. Watch out! (There is no cure.)

To answer your question about the newspaper thickness:

You can make it as thick as you want. It should probably be at least 5-6 pages thick. It will act as a weed barrier until it breaks down in a year or two. But, if your beds are 6-8 inches deep, you probably will not have weeds sprouting after that time anyway, as the weed seeds won't be getting any sunlight.

Regarding the potatoes:

Buy "seed potatoes" from your local garden center. I try to find the smallest seed potatoes so that I don't have to deal with cutting them into sections. I just plant the small whole seed potato.

If you buy large seed potatoes, you will want to cut them into sections with one or two "eyes" in each section, let the sections dry and form a skin, and dust them with sulfur powder to help prevent rotting. Wait until the little sprouts start growing from the potato eyes. When the sprouts are about 1/2" long, you can plant the seed potato. This seems like a lot of trouble to me, when you can just by a small seed potato and plant it whole!

Our local garden center has 4 or 5 different varieties of seed potatoes to choose from; red, yellow, russet and several others. If you are planting them in a container, I would not mix varieties within the container, as they do not sprout or grow at the same pace. If you want to grow different varieties, put each kind in it's own container.

Maybe we should start an online Garden Club? Wouldn't that be fun? My mom used to be a member of the local garden club, and I know she really enjoyed it. Let me know what you think. You could be the first charter member!

Thanks for sharing all your news and excitement about your garden. I am excited for you! Can you send pictures if it is not too much trouble?

Best regards,

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