Seye
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Help with preparing the ground

Probably the wrong side of the year to be asking this but I will, when preparing the ground for a vegetable patch what happens if the soil has allot of stones mixed through, do these all have to be sived out?

Cheers
Simon

crobi13
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Partly the answer to your questions depends on what you are planning on planting. For root vegetables, yes, you should remove as many rocks as you possibly can. For some others, just removing the larger rocks should be ok.
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Seye
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Thanks for that, what I had in mind was preparing the ground then using wooden decking slats (one high only) as a border for eatch group type and then filling with new soil. But want to get it as right as possible first time round to avoid having to redo it again.

Simon

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nes
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My garden was built over allot of gravel so what I did was turn under as much of the gravel as possible (about a foot) then place more manure/dirt on top of the entire garden. I'm going to build it up even more this fall/winter but that worked very well for me.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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stella1751
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I should change my Helpful Gardener name from Stella1751 to Rocks-R-Us for this one. One day I will post a photo of the pile of rocks I have sifted from my Casper soil thus far: it's four feet tall and about six feet wide at the base.

I get rid of all the rocks I see. In my Cheyenne garden, I had coffee cans set out at regular intervals, one every three or four feet, to chuck rocks into whenever I found them. When full, I dumped them into an ongoing rock garden. Wyoming may well have the prettiest rocks in the world!

The bad thing about rocks is, if you live in the north country, they keep coming back each year. The ground heaves and contracts and expands over the winter, shoving more to the surface each spring. (Either that or an evil genie was sprinkling my garden with rocks while I slept.) It's a perpetual battle.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Seye
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So how deep would you say would be suffcient to sive. :D

crobi13
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LOL, Stella! "Evil rock genie" you should market that idea to Marvel Comics :lol:

Simon, what are you thinking of planting? How high are your raised beds going to be?
Charlette
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applestar
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Seye wrote:So how deep would you say would be suffcient to sive. :D
In the new edition Square Foot Garden, I believe Mel Batholomew is recommending 6" deep planting boxes of GOOD SOIL MIX, so I suppose at least 6" would be a workable answer, though I would tend to recommend 8". Silver lining is that you don't have to worry about good drainage.

But having said all that, I'm pretty skeptical about such shallow depths since reading this: ROOT DEVELOPMENT OF VEGETABLE CROPS BY JOHN E. WEAVER Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Nebraska AND WILLIAM E. BRUNER Instructor in Botany, University of Nebraska https://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/010137veg.roots/010137toc.html

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I agree: 6 inches is too shallow, even if Mel Bartholomew himself is recommending it.

My experience in my first SFG last year showed me that, at least in my own yard/garden, I need 10" to 12" of good soil to grow (e.g.) carrots and tomatoes.

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stella1751
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I'm with Cynthia_H. Before I started using raised beds and filling them with soil hand-prepared in my backyard bathtub (the neighbors surely must wonder), I double-dug each new bed. I LOVE growing tomatoes and peppers most of all, and they want 18" of satiny soil to excel.

In my experience, Seye, preparing the new bed requires the most exacting physical work of gardening, as well as the greatest attention to detail. However, once you've done the back-breaking, painstaking work required, all you've got to do is amend the soil each year and feel proud you gave your plants a good start. It's worth the effort, and you are definitely on the ball, starting on it now.

Which reminds me. I need one more new bed if I want to have tomatoes and peppers next year. Everything else will be in legume or cucurbit rotation. Thanks for the heads up!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Seye
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Thaks for all your replies I will sive about 12" deep and hopefully the hard work will pay off.

8)

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Diane
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stella1751 wrote:I should change my Helpful Gardener name from Stella1751 to Rocks-R-Us for this one. One day I will post a photo of the pile of rocks I have sifted from my Casper soil thus far: it's four feet tall and about six feet wide at the base.

I get rid of all the rocks I see. In my Cheyenne garden, I had coffee cans set out at regular intervals, one every three or four feet, to chuck rocks into whenever I found them. When full, I dumped them into an ongoing rock garden. Wyoming may well have the prettiest rocks in the world!

The bad thing about rocks is, if you live in the north country, they keep coming back each year. The ground heaves and contracts and expands over the winter, shoving more to the surface each spring. (Either that or an evil genie was sprinkling my garden with rocks while I slept.) It's a perpetual battle.

The rocks keep coming back? LOL I know it isn't funny to you. It just sounds like weeds or plants growing.
Here in the NE my yard has land fill. I know this because I keep picking up glass, pottery and old metal things like hand pounded nails. And just like you, I find new glass and things after every rain.
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

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gixxerific
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Get rid of as many rocks as you can.

I have had and am thinking again about doing some raised beds. I would NOT do anything under twelve myself, maybe more I don't know why but 16 sounds good to me. But that would require more building due to lumber accessibility. But I'm a bricklayer so I can build whatever. I am even thinking about building some stone gardens, I can do some pretty cool stuff.

Dono

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stella1751
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Gixxerific, be certain to post pictures of stone gardens if you build them. I think that's a wonderful idea, and most of us have a stone or two lying around :lol:

Diane, I think my yard used to be the site of a business, something that used lots of nails, screws, bolts, and nuts. Just when I've decided the business must have been carpentry, I find a slew of nuts and bolts. I could open a hardware store with the stuff I've found, well, that is if there were a market for rusty nails, screws, bolts, and nuts!

Seye, I don't know how many rocks you are talking, but I had to invent a rock sifter for mine. I got one of those rope-handled round plastic containers from Wal-Mart; I think they were in the laundry section. I bought a grill for a round barbeque and covered it with hardware cloth by cutting a square slightly larger than the grill, folding over the corners, and "stapling" them in place with those short soft wire things you use to hold chain-link fence along its top bar. (Feel free to jump in here, anyone, if you know the technical name for these :? )

So, the handle sides are up on the hardware-cloth covered grill, which I place on the round plastic thing I got from Wal-Mart. Here's where it gets fun. Those rope handles fit snugly through the handles of the grill, holding it in place. I pull them up through the grill handles and go to work.

Once I've pounded out a good pile of rocks, I scoop them up with a square-edged shovel and place them on the grill. Using the flat square shovel, I scrape the rocks back and forth on the grill. Once all the great topsoil has been sifted into the tote, I take the leftover rocks and toss them on my rock pile. The soil goes into my backyard bathtub until I have enough to play with.

Seye, this is terrifically untechnical; I don't know half the names of the items I use :!: If you are interested in this means of sifting rocks, let me know, and I'll get you a photo.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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jal_ut
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I have gardened on a couple of lots that had lots of gravel on them. The only rocks I ever took off were those bigger than a baseball. You don't need to seive out the smaller rocks. They don't really improve your soil, but they don't hurt it either. Suit yourself.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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tomf
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In the area you are planting root plants take the rocks out other wise if they are not big do not care. One issue with rocks is the get in to your rototiller and if you lift it to turn it with out taking the power from the tines it can through rocks at you; I know. When I was tilling up my garden for the fist time I used my tractor and it's 5' tiller and pulled a few rocks but the good one was I pulled up a kids bike. The bike made one hell of a noise so I cut the power to the tiller fast and it droped to the ground.

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applestar
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:shock: Are you saying there was a bicycle completely buried in the ground? :shock:

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Diane
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tomf wrote:In the area you are planting root plants take the rocks out other wise if they are not big do not care. One issue with rocks is the get in to your rototiller and if you lift it to turn it with out taking the power from the tines it can through rocks at you; I know. When I was tilling up my garden for the fist time I used my tractor and it's 5' tiller and pulled a few rocks but the good one was I pulled up a kids bike. The bike made one hell of a noise so I cut the power to the tiller fast and it droped to the ground.
Wow! I got hit in the arm with a rock once while hubby was mowing. No one was ever allowed in the yard again while it was being mowed.
A bike! I wouldn't be surprised to dig one up here. :lol:
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rainbowgardener
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things we dig up

My hillside I'm turning in to a woodland shade garden apparently used to be a trash dump. Along with the air conditioners, sink parts, shoes, beer cans, etc that were on the surface, I am constantly digging up old plumbing parts, big heavy old rusted hardware of various sorts, glass bottles stamped with pharmacy name, pieces of china, once even an old garage door, for a small single car garage! Some of it is buried quite deep...

lin'sgraden
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I'm a new-be myself, with more rocks in the ground then soil. I'm begining to think we bought a house on an old rock quarry(SP?). Anyway we have decited to go with a raised vege garden. It might be a bit more pricey, but it'll be easier on the back!
Just a thought, good luck with the rock pickin'.
Lin

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tomf
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Yes I pulled up a bike frame with wheels even. In one meadow I cleared out blackberries 8" high and when I went in after to level it out I found a refrigerator in the ground.

The rock that hit me left on big egg on my shin. I keep learning things the hard way it seems.

I was from Mass. and in NE they have so many rocks in the earth that they make walls around the fields with all the big rocks; it does look nice though.

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