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I asked this exact same question some years ago, because I get so darn much newspaper!

The short answer is no. It gets wet and become a nasty paper mache like mess that suffocates your seedlings.

But I have found uses for it.

First, I spread paper in the walking paths in the garden. It doesn’t matter if it mats down there, that is kind of the point. It suffocates weeds nicely, and slows evaporation while still allowing oxygen into the soil, good for earthworms.

When I till, I put down whatever shredded newsprint I have. It adds bulk moisture retaining carbon to the soil, even if not any nutrients.

It makes an excellent underlayment to wood chips. I get wood chips from the utility company when they trim for power lines. By putting newspaper on the ground under the woodchips, it helps to prevent nut grasses and other similar plants from growing up through the chips.

I’ve heard to use it for worm farming. I haven’t tried yet, although this is on my experiments list for some day.
 
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