Raised Beds Over Rocky Soil

Here on the shore of Lake Erie in Ohio, as the last ice age ended, many rocks were deposited on the land as the ice melted. Over time, the rocks sank and mixed with the soil or in some cases a thin layer of soil was brought in as people built homes and established communities near the beautiful lakeshore.

Many years later here in Lakeside, Ohio there are many houses and very few dugout basements. There are some, of course, and these have generated nicely formed excavated sheet rock to use in garden pathways and for building up attractive rock fences for raised flower beds. New soil and mulch has to be added usually, as in most locations it is simply too difficult to dig down and remove the rocks, small or large.

The squirrels and other small animals who bury excess nuts in the ground in the fall and then dig them out the following spring have a difficult time finding suitable soil. Often, the raised flower beds become a favorite location in which to bury their treasures. They usually don’t bother the flowers, but it’s necessary to check now and then after planting to see if any newly planted flowers have been upended in search of nuts planted the previous fall. Vegetable gardens are another matter.

We have a small yard where vegetables can be grown, but it’s hard to get much yield from them unless the seeds and new plants are protected from the many animals and birds looking for nourishing tidbits in the early spring. We’ve built two raised beds with heavy lumber, one 4 by 6 ft. and another 4 by 8 ft., giving a total 66 square feet of gardening space. Each of the beds is covered with light wooden covers that are stabilized with metal right angle bends that are screwed into the wood and covered with chicken wire stapled into the wood. Each of the raised beds is fitted with three sections of wooden covers which are fitted with wood slats that fit over the 4 ft. dimension of the raised beds, making them easy to remove when harvesting crops. They are all light weight and easy to remove and replace after harvesting. These covers fit about a foot over the soil and completely protect the crops on all sides.

These shrouded, raised beds are perfect for our situation. We can easily plant beets, carrots, onion sets, various kinds of lettuce, spinach, onion sets, basil, dill, tarragon, thyme and chives. I can start pole beans and transplant them later into large pots along a fence where they can climb. Local animal critters don’t find the beans interesting. We also grow grape or cherry tomatoes in pots and protect them with cloth nets otherwise the birds will grab every one as it turns red.

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2 responses to “Raised Beds Over Rocky Soil

  1. Richard, can we suggest growing fennel?

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