Soil Problems

Should I Get the Gravel Out of My Soil?

randomgirl17 added on September 17, 2015 | Answered

This past summer, it was decided that the people in my household wanted a vegetable garden. Unfortunately, one person decided to go out and get a bunch of soil with gravel in it (what I was told might possibly be fill dirt). While I was away at work, the vegetable garden was filled with this dirt. We have clay soil and the person who originally got the gravel/soil mixture said that the gravel would be good for drainage. However, cooler seasons are approaching and I am worried that the gravel might have a negative impact on the vegetables I'm wanting to grow, especially the root crops. Should I remove the gravel or would it be okay to just apply a layer of compost over the top of it?

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Answered on September 19, 2015

When I lived out on the farm we had gardens that were pretty high in pea sized to 3/4" sized gravel. We added compost to that soil along with aged cow manure and worked it in. We were able to grow sweet corn, carrots, radishes, potatos, turnips, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes and such just fine. We found that the gravel not only helped with good drainage for the soils but also helped allow oxygen paths to get some oxygen down into the soils. Thus when we got the heavy rains, the soils did not become so soppy that it caused them to lock out the oxygen movement to the root zone that can cause many a problem. If the gravel mix added appears high on a ratio of mix of the gravel side, add some top soil along with the compost and mix it in as best you can. That should get the ratio to where the soils and compost ratio of the mix is back to the higher side which is where you want it. Something like 60-40 ratio with gravel being the lesser.

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