ANDERSON, S.C. - Newspaper has helped Lewis Brady go greener.

Brady, who lives in northeastern Anderson County, credits newspapers with the success of his garden this year.

"One of my friends and I are always comparing gardens," he said. "When I sent him a picture of my wife standing next to my corn, he said, 'OK, you win this time.' "

Brady's garden stands on the lower edge of his yard, fenced in by plastic Pepsi cases.

A dozen buckets around the edge of the garden are there to collect rainwater. Old PVC pipe lines the top of the garden, the strings hanging down from them serving as supports for the corn, green beans and tomatoes that grow below.

It's no wonder the thought of recycling his daily Anderson Independent-Mail led him to his garden.

"Well, we had stacks of them laying around, and I wondered, what could we do with all these papers? I wanted to put them to good use," he said. "So I started shredding them."

Lewis took the shredded newspaper and laid it on his garden plot. After the paper started to decompose a little, he said, he tilled it into the ground. After applying a 10-10-10 fertilizer and rain water, he planted his seeds.
One of my friends and I are always comparing gardens. When I sent him a picture of my wife standing next to my corn, he said, 'OK, you win this time.' --Lewis Brady
The corn he planted the first of April has grown to be more than 12 feet tall. His tomatoes became wide bushes nearly 5 feet tall. And the green pepper plants reached more than 3 feet tall, heavy with blooms.

"I don't know what happened, but I have to believe it's the paper," he said. "I've just never seen anything like this."

Jim Lasley, vice president of operations at the Independent-Mail, said a lot of gardeners use newspaper for mulch.

"The ink we use is soy-based, and the paper is recycled," he said. "I don't know if that makes a difference, but we do get calls from people looking to use the newspaper in their garden."

The News Sentinel also uses soy-based inks and recycled newsprint.

According to the West Virginia University Extension Service, using newspaper as mulch controls weeds, adds organic matter, provides good yields, retains moisture and provides cooler soils for desired crops.

Brady said he thinks it controls the ants, too.

"Wherever there is newspaper, there are no ants," he said.

Brady usually grows enough to fill up two freezers, he said.

That's the only part of the whole thing to which his wife of 56 years, Erah Brady, isn't looking forward.

"He comes up with ideas all the time, and he decided to put the paper on the garden," she said. "He'll grow it all, but I'll put it all up."

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