You give donations to a few of your favorite charitable organizations, and the next thing you know you’re on hundreds of mailing lists. The flood of postal spam is ridiculous. We have a box on the front porch where we toss most of it, unopened. Here’s a way to turn that junk into useful stuff.

It’s early May, and Treesh and I set out to plant potatoes today, so we were raking away an area of the garden that we had covered with leaves last fall. We gathered the leaves to use as a mulch around our blueberries. But the grass was coming in pretty thick around the little blueberry bushes, which we had planted just a year ago in another area of the yard next to the garden. The leaves we gathered would make an excellent mulch, but the grass would probably still poke through. So first we spread newspapers and paper bags on top of the grass.

But before covering that layer of paper with the leafy mulch, I got the bright idea to add another layer of junk mail. The unopened envelopes would add a heavy and impenetrable barrier against the grass. It would also help keep the paper in place before it was covered.

Mulching with Junk Mail Mulching with Junk Mail Mulching with Junk Mail Mulching with Junk Mail

The junk mail will probably take a couple years to fully decompose. I’m not too concerned about the glasine windows in the envelopes — those will work their way to the surface over time. And the colored inks in the paper? Well let’s face it, heavy metals are a way of life for us living here at the edge of post-industrial middle-America. Get used to it.

A lot of the junk mail actually encouraged us to “Please Recycle,” and frankly I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to do so. Oh and if you happen to be employed with one of those organizations… and recognize your own junk mail in these photos… you may feel free to remove The Bear household from your mailing list if you deem it a wasteful expense on your part. Otherwise, bring it on! That big box of junk mail didn’t spread very far, and we could use more.

We finished up the blueberry mulching just before a thunderstorm rolled in, so we didn’t get the potatoes in today, but the bed is cleared and ready.

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