Monday, April 8, 2013

Tons of gravel

As you know, my plans for the garden include laying down vinyl and anchoring it with gravel in order to establish widespread poison-free weed control (between the tires, of course).

I have the tarps; I have the tires; what I lacked was the gravel. In spring, the narrow paved county road leading to our house has weight restrictions on it until drier conditions prevail, in order to limit damage from heavy vehicles.

So last Thursday I figured I'd call our local gravel supplier and order up two loads of 3/4-inch-minus gravel, to be delivered whenever the weight restrictions were lifted.

"Oh they're already lifted," the gravel fellow said. "I can be there inside an hour or two."

Wow! By all means! I didn't expect it so soon!

So Don and I hastily moved vehicles and other debris out of the way and determined the driver could dump the loads of gravel next to the garden.

Sure enough, within the appointed time the dogs started barking as the rumble of a heavy dump truck could be heard.

I didn't catch the driver's name, but he was cheerful and friendly. Here he's peering overhead to make sure there are no tree branches or anything else that will get damaged from the upright dump.

He backed up to the appropriate spot and released the back.

It took well under thirty seconds for tons of gravel to come pouring out.

The driver watches the proceedings from his rear-view mirror.

Within a minute or two he was on his way for another load. It took perhaps half an hour for the round trip, then he dumped the second load of gravel next to the first.

Tons of gravel, waiting to be moved into the garden. Let's see weeds work their way through THIS!

The weather for the past few days has been hideous -- shrieking wind, pouring rain -- but once things dry out a bit, Don will borrow a friend's tractor and start shunting the gravel as I lay down tarps. Then I can move tires where they need to go, fill them with composted manure, and await the warmer days of late spring before planting seeds.

Little by little, we're getting our garden.


  1. just curious? will you put the tarp under your plants? will that be sufficient room for the roots?

    1. Oh no, the tarps get holes cut in them once the tires are laid down. I cover the ground with cardboard under the tire, though, to cut the weeds. The cardboard will rot away quickly, but also stunt or kill the weeds. That way if the veggies' roots need more room, they can grow through the composted manure in the tire straight down into the ground if need be.

      - Patrice

  2. Truly inspired by the amount of work you are going through to get your gardens ready. I will have to remember this the next time I have to weed my 4 small raised beds and I complain about it...

  3. I like the idea of a gravel pathway! Can't wait to see the final pics once everything is in place.

  4. instead of gravel i opted to plant in those spots between the tires... perfect for those pepper or tomato plants or even lettuces or radishes and carrots. otherwise, i just fill that hole good with a layer of cardboard or plastic and then fill it up with a good old woodchip mulch which is easy to remove if i decide to plant something. work well. no garden space wasted.

  5. Wow - I think you'll have an AWESOME garden this year (if the weather cooperates).

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  6. Patrice,

    I hope the weather lightens up for you in the next couple of days, giving you the time needed to get your garden setup exactly as planned.

    Looking forward to pictures!!!

  7. I roared when I read the line, "Let's see weeds work their way through THIS."

    City dwellers don't really have any idea what country gardeners deal with when it come to farm weeds.

    If I don't hoe down that little 1-inch sprout right NOW, by tomorrow it'll be tree-sized: Six feet tall with a 1-inch thick stalk. And so will all his friends.

    Sure hope this does the trick for you!

    Just me

  8. Great idea! I told the hubby about your old vinyl billboard signs & he said we have access to old awnings. THANK YOU for the idea! Have you used the tires before? No issues with "tires"?

  9. Congratulations! Sounding good. :-)

  10. I could really, really get excited about that much gravel! Poor city slickers just won't understand......

    Phyllis (N/W Jersey)

  11. I don't mean to rain on your parade, but many if not most yards here in the desert southwest are covered with rock and gravel of various sizes. Grass is far too water intensive for this climate to have more than a small patch. And yes, many put down a layer of "weed cloth" over the bare ground before laying the rock. And what do these people spend unimaginable amounts of time, money and effort doing in these rock yards? Fighting weeds. Pulling, hoeing, and spraying herbicides by the gallons (blech.)

    We learned that over time, wind-blown dust and settling plant debris forms a layer of "soil" down in the rock on top of the plastic or cloth, providing quite a nice substrate for weeds to take root in. For a while this will at least make them easy to pull. But eventually the barrier plastic or cloth will degrade and they'll just sprout in the existing ground. And then the rock layer just adds a degree of difficulty to the weeding; the larger the rock the harder it is.

    I wish you far, far better luck than we have with this system hereabouts.

    Jeff - Tucson

  12. Very interesting subject, thank you for putting up'''