A piece in The New York Times Home & Garden section got a little bit meta on Wednesday. Anne Raver wrote the first-person piece about how to grow a vegetable and fruit garden in the Fall without resorting to chemicals. The secret ingredient for fending off weeds, pictured in the accompanying photographs: old copies of the Times itself.

“I knew I was saving those newspapers for a reason,” I said to Rock, as he rolled a cartful from the barn. (We have enough newspapers stacked in there to blanket the turf at the Augusta National Golf Club.)

I started laying down the newspaper, four sheets thick, as Rock went off to dig some compost — rotted leaves from one pile, aged manure from another — and mixed it together in a wheelbarrow.

I used the garden hose to wet the newspapers, to keep them from blowing away. But also because wet newspapers will decay faster, and roots from young plants will be able to grow right through to the soil below.

See? Print isn’t dead; it’s fertilizer.

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner