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Gravel in soil

 
Jonathan Hind
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Hi everybody !
I have just joined the site. Getting more and more interested in permaculture the more I read about it and have started to plan a re-model of the garden. I have a terrible lawn and was planning on turning it over and planting but the soil underneath is full of gravel ! Do I just plant on and hope the roots work down which I am sure they will whilst adding more organic matter all the time or do I need to remove as much of it as I can ?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 1997
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Around here, the soil was formed as a river/lake delta during the last ice age. Some ground is clay, or silt, or sand, or gravel, or cobbles. I prefer to garden in the clay or silt. Gravel makes weeding harder, because it's hard to run a hoe through the soil, and depending on the size of the stones, can make cultivation difficult.

In my fields, I tend to haul off stones that are larger than 2 inches in diameter, as I come across them. Anything smaller than that, I  tend to leave alone. I'm only removing stones for the sake of weeding. The plant roots grow through gravel just fine. I have one corner of one field that contains a lot of 2" gravel. I don't plant there, I just leave it as a wild corner. The gravel came to the surface when trenches were dug to lay underground piping for the irrigation system.



 
Jonathan Hind
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I think the people who lived here before me must have had a love affair with the stuff ! It's everywhere. I will have a go planting into it and see what happens. If it goes wrong at least the compost pile will benefit.
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Joseph has the right of it, dense gravel is bad news for tilling style growth. No-Till may be your only reasonable option [and is a preferred option for many on these boards anyway.]
 
steve bossie
Posts: 260
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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i have a lot of shale up here which is a lot like gravel. i made 12in cedar raised beds on it and filled with some nice loam from a friend that has a construction business. this way you don't have to mess with the stuff. i did a raspberry patch in the shale and it was a nightmare! the raspberries took but i busted my rump trying to remove the bigger stuff. wound up scraping the thin topsoil into mounds and planting them that way.
 
Melissa Swartz
Posts: 7
Location: Greenville, VA 24440
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We had a wide range of soil here on our 4 acres. One spot is mostly gravel were there was Driveway at some point. Its the spot wife wants a herb garden so we are sifting the top 4-5 inches then going to add lots of compost, Peat moss, Rabbit manure, and some top soil. Mix it then top with mulch.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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