Growing a Vegetable Garden in Gravel
Growing a vegetable garden in gravel is a great option if you do not like to weed. The gravel offers you several advantages in addition to controlling weed growth. Gravel helps keep your plant seedlings warm, provides the vegetable garden with great drainage and minimizes the amount of water needed to sustain the garden.
Preparing Your Gravel Vegetable Garden
Preparing a planting bed for your gravel garden is similar to preparing any other planting bed. Start by outlining where you want your garden. Generally, gravel gardens are smaller than traditional gardens, and they tend to follow fencing or other structures.
Next, dig down 2 to 3 inches so you can remove the sod and its roots. Fill in this hole with 1 part compost and 2 parts garden soil.
The next steps are specific for a gravel vegetable garden. Lay either landscaper’s fabric or gardening plastic over the dirt and compost. Secure the material with metal or wood stakes. Then weigh down the perimeter of the material with railroad ties, cement edgers or bricks.
Vegetable Garden Layout
Now that your gravel garden is ready for planting, design a layout. Include the types of plants you will be growing and where they need to be positioned to get the appropriate amount of sunlight and water. Select plants that you like to cook with or eat raw. The plants that work the best in gravel vegetable gardens include:
- Tomato plants
- Melon plants
- Squash plants
- Bean plants
- Pea plants
Generally, anything that grows primarily above ground will work. Avoid planting root vegetables and low lying vegetables like lettuce and herbs, as these will be difficult to harvest when surrounded by gravel.
Once you have decided what to plant, use graph paper to figure out where you will position each vegetable.
Planting Your Gravel Vegetable Garden
Since you will be covering the surface of your vegetable garden with gravel, you must start your seeds first before you can plant them. Generally, you should start your seeds between 4 and 6 weeks before your area’s planting season begins.
When you are ready to plant, go to your gravel vegetable garden and cut an “X” where you want to plant your seedling. Dig down into the garden soil to create a hole that is as big as the root ball of your seedling. Set your seeding in the hole and backfill it. Pat the soil down around the plant to secure your seedling, and then smooth the plastic around the seedling.
Adding Gravel to Your Vegetable Garden
The final step is to add gravel. Since you have delicate seedlings in your garden bed, you must be gentle when adding gravel. . A good way to do this is to use a plastic pitcher or measuring cup with a handle to scoop up gravel and gently pour it around your plants.
After applying all of the gravel, you can use a hand rake to smooth and level it out.