A weeded bed is a happy garden bed at least most of the time. Start by wetting the strips to encourage the decomposition process and lay them carefully around newly planted crop.
Any mulch helps retain moisture, including paper. You likely have some right in your home -- and it's called newspaper. It robs the soil of nitrogen, adds toxins, and is ugly as hell, hear me out.
Just like leaves on the forest floor, decomposition is slow and beneficial. As long as the paper is wet, the plant will have a sufficient supply.
Look Mom, grass clippings and no weeds! Spreading it around a new flower bed can suppress the growth of weeds, regulate soil temperature and generally improve fertility. This year the tomato plants didn't grow much and we had very few tomatoes.
Solution: shredded paper as garden mulch. Such products as fruit pomace seeds, pulp, skinsseaweed, brewery waste, buckwheat hulls, mushroom waste, fish industry, zoo, fair and circus waste are only a few kinds of organic matter that may only be available in specific regions.