My neighbor says her mom used overlap newspapers around her tomato plants to keep the weeds away. I wondered about shredding newspaper instead. I know youre not supposed to use the shiny, colored ads, just black and white.
I use shredded paper as mulch on everything.I get 2-3 trash bags a week from work so I have plenty to use.Don't use it directly against the plants as it tends to mat and water runs off therefore none gets directly to the roots
I used shredded newspaper last year with great luck. My watering was by drip, underneath the paper mulch, so having it mat down was actually a good thing--kept the water in, and prevented quite as much blowing around.
I mulch around my tomatoes and everything else in the garden with grass clippings. That keeps moisture in the soil, keeps weeds down, reduces the soil temp in summertime, keeps the garden from being muddy after a rain, and it improves the soil when I turn it under in the fall.
I'm sure newspapers or most any kind of mulch would do the same thing.
That's right about the lawn chemicals. Also, people in some parts of the country wouldn't want to use grass clippings as garden mulch because that would bring Bermuda Grass seeds or other pesky things to their garden.
I don't use any lawn chemicals and have no invasive seeds in my grass, so I don't have those problems.
My favorite trick is to catch my grass clippings in the spring, like now, when the grass is lush and green. I put those fresh clippings directly on the garden 3 or 4 inches deep, in paths and between rows, and I keep them a couple of inches away from the veggies.
About a day later, that fresh mulch gets so hot I can't hold my hand under it. The heat kills emerging crabgrass and weeds, and it cooks the weed seeds in the soil. It makes the garden real easy to maintain for the rest of the season.
Now - if it will only quit raining for a while so I can do that. lol