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Rocks!

 
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hi,

i just spent a good chunk of time building a 16 X 5ft. raised bed in my back yard and tilling up the existing sod. i got to the last 1/4 of the length of the bed and discovered rocks. lots of roughly golf ball sized rocks about a foot below the surface. i really don't want to dig them all out, and i really don't want to have to move my raised bed. i plan to dump about 12 inches of good compost/topsoil over the ground i've tilled. can anyone tell me if my plants will be hindered in any way by these rocks? it feels almost as if there is concrete down there!

any help is appreciate as always.

dwayne

 
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Dwayne Seagraves wrote:any help is appreciate as always.



I'll take you at your word: sell your tiller.
 
Dwayne Seagraves
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oh i didn't literally till the soil. i just broke it up enough for the roots to have a bit more room below the compost/soil mixture.

 
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For a few years I attempted to garden on top of rocks with little success. I think in a very moist environment it might work, with shallow-rooted crops, just like growing in a planter. But in a droughty environment, it meant death to plants. I ended up excavating the rocks.

 
tel jetson
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Dwayne Seagraves wrote:oh i didn't literally till the soil. i just broke it up enough for the roots to have a bit more room below the compost/soil mixture.



in that case: have a beer, you've been working hard.

then tell us a little bit about your location. not being nosy, but as Ludi here just pointed out, climate makes all the difference.
 
Dwayne Seagraves
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i HAVE been working hard! this is the main reason i am dreading having to dig these rocks up. i live in pasadena, california.
 
pollinator
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There's a thread about forage or tillage radish (daikon). You plant those and let the roots move/break up the rocks. Then leave them in the ground over winter.
 
tel jetson
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hmmm. well, can you tell how deep the rocks extend? and can you tell how they affect drainage?

haven't spent much time in Pasadena, but it's fairly warm and dry, yes? if you put enough stuff on top of those rocks, I think you could get away with leaving them there. might depend on what you intend to grow. maybe add some woody stuff on the bottom for a nutrient/water sponge (hugel). you could also try some deep tap-rooted plants to loosen the rocks up a bit. won't happen in a season, but given time you'll see an improvement.

on the other hand, there are plenty of other uses for those rocks if you can get them out of the ground. rock piles are great for critter habitat, condensing water out of the air, moderating temperatures. they can look real nice if you've got a good eye for building the piles (I don't).
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