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Garden Area at New House Covered with Landscape Rock -- Help?

14 years ago

Looking for ideas, advice, etc. We bought this house last year. The best and only place we have for a veggie garden is a space about 27 x 11 that is currently covered with a rather deep layer (maybe 6 inches or so) of landscape rock (river rock) with half-rotten landscape fabric underneath (and a ton of weeds growing there anyhow). Underneath that is most likely sandy loam, but itÂs buried under all that rock.

We originally figured we'd have to rake/dig all that rock and fabric out, but haven't had time to do a thing with it yet. It's been haunting us all winter just looking at it. We're trying to decide exactly what we need to do, but whatever we do, we've got to do it quickly, since planting time is practically here (we're in Northern CA, Sacramento area).

My hubby recently had the idea of just leaving the rock in place and building raised beds on top of it. We have a redwood deck we are going to tear apart (itÂs not well-made and unsightly), so will have lots of redwood to work with, and building garden beds might be a good use for it.

We're thinking, right now, about maybe building various sized beds for veggies, and taking out the rock inside the bed areas ONLY. We could leave the rest of it as is (well, minus the bumper crop of weeds) in the pathways between the beds. That might be less labor intensive.

IÂm thinking it might work, but have some concerns about the excessive heat we get here in the summer making raised beds, especially atop river rock, impractical from a watering standpoint. Or would the combination of rock and landscape fabric underneath actually help with water retention? IÂm just unfamiliar with this sort of gardening (raised beds), so am not sure how to proceed, should we decide to go this route.

We're not novice gardeners, so don't really need gardening advice. We just don't know where to begin with this Ârocky situation. Does anyone have any ideas? Opinions? Might the raised beds work in this situation? If so, how deep should they be? Or would we be better off in this climate to just suck it up and start hauling that rock out? (And then, what to DO with all of it presents yet another challenge, although we've thought about mixing it with cement to make cobblestone tiles for some other areas of the yard -- like instead of the cruddy deck.) IÂm eager to get my hands in some garden dirt, but this is really holding me up. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated! I hope I was clear enough. We really could use some advice on this, and IÂm hoping someone (or several someones) here will be able to help us figure this out.

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