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AnnaD

Flower Bed Full Of Rubble

Me again with yet more noobish gardening questions! I spent weeks de-turfing a large area of garden only to find that underneath, the ground is made up entirely of large stones/ small rocks. Can I get away with removing them in small areas where I'm going to plant things, or do they all need to be removed? I don't have the money to get it done professionally. Any other ideas on what to do would be great.
marigold

Derek Jarman made a splendid flower garden in the shingle at Dungeness, so you definitely shouldn't need to remove all the stones Smile https://wellywoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/garden-tour-derek-jarmans-garden/

Make planting pockets and experiment. Things will grow anyway, even where there appears to be no soil. Pull out the ones you don't like and keep the ones you do.
gz

Look at the Alternative Technology Centre's gardens..built on a heap of slate rubble.....
AnnaD

That sounds reassuring! I want to plant a hazel tree and a cherry tree in the bed, as well as a variety of other edible or medicinal perennials. I'll have a further dig about, and I'll try digging holes for the plants to save on work.
wellington womble

I had two beds like that. They had a thin layer of topsoil over mostly rubble, then clay. They were very well drained and needed watering a lot in summer. In winter, it over wintered things that are not supposed to be hardy because they weren't too wet. I had some super nicotiana sylvestris in there for years. It was on a south facing wall as well. (I dint suppose this is terribly relavant for you up there!) but plant things that will cope with dry soil. I bet herbs sound do well if there's enough sun.
dpack

what they said

plus a couple of hints;

if you need to dig a hole a pick is the first tool ,start small and remove a few bits then work around the edge levering chunks/stones in towards the centre.hoik the lose bits out with a mattock or trenching tool (a spade is often useless with such stuff) .
once the hole is wide enough start again in the middle and repeat the process with each layer until your pit is big enough.

the classic boot on spade style will be a world of pain and frustration.

in some "soils" it is worth experimenting with the dampness ,some dig easiest when fairly dry as lumps can be got out by working with the natural cracks ,some are easier when wet as the stones can be got out of the finer stuff. tis easy to make it wetter but drying it is a matter of timing.

if it is like concrete when dry or tyre rubber with rocks in when damp more drastic means are best,a kango with a wide bit ( having two wide bits is a good idea so you can unclip and use the second to dig out the first when it gets stuck) is a very handy tool and in some cases a pressure washer is a messy but effective digging tool.

the second hint is to add a lot of organic stuff on top and let the worms do the hard work of opening up the soil,it takes a while but can be very effective.
AnnaD

Great! Thanks for all the advice. It's good soil that doesn't go solid when dry, and it doesn't get waterlogged either, so we're lucky with that. I was going to borrow a pickaxe from my father in law today, but I forgot. I don't think the whole bed is full of stones, but a majority of it certainly is.
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