Karla Jaeger wrote:
My partner wants to build me cedar raised boxes and buy me a dump truck load of "soil" from the local landscape supply. He thinks excavating the rocks is crazy, because then I have to deal with them (it does seem like we have more rocks than dirt. And no, they are not the nice kind you can build rock walls with. We would rather not use them as bed edging because they're kind of ugly). This method has the appeal of him doing most of the work for me, and more or less instant results. The wood for the boxes is here already and he can mill it and build the boxes. I'm sure I could amend the lame topsoil blend, but I feel like my idea would result in healthier, more diverse soil, in more time.
I'd love to hear any other ideas or advice anyone may have to help me build soil here :)
Unless you really want the exercise I would suggest only trying to dig into that soil and removing rocks in very small areas and for specific plants that need it. For a garden I would even skip the building of boxes and just lay the topsoil or better yet compost, if available, directly in your garden areas in rows that you intend to grow in. My soil is very similar to the point that I can't get a shovel into the soil farther than about 2 inches. I wanted a large garden and so just bought a load of compost a couple of times a week, when driving by the soils seller, and dumped it in rows on top of my "gravel pit". I lined the areas between the rows with similar amounts of wood chips and voila, instant garden beds. This worked very well for most crops, but then I didn't plant anything which had deep roots. The strange thing is that 2 years later the compost rows have compressed down to about 3 inches deep, but I can now sink a shovel into those beds full depth. The rocks are still there, but who cares, the roots just go around them and the amount of labor that went into this is WAY less that trying to get all of the rocks out and improve the soil deeper than most garden plant roots will go.