Liberating the Rocks

Uncovering rocks in the garden’s former pathway is like an archaeological dig!

Yesterday was my first day in the garden.  After a passionate Dig In! festival Saturday to inspire me to grow, I wanted to get started right away and hopefully plant some peas.

It was ridiculously hard work because I hadn’t taken the time to buy various garden tools yet.  People with experience just told me to hoe it, or water it down and put cardboard over it with layers of mulch and compost.  But, I was told by the previous gardener that the soil was really great and so putting new layers over it and not using what was there seemed unnecessary. After a full day of hard labor by myself, however, maybe it’s worth it.

Here is a photo journal of the experience, which remarkably has not incapacitated me today as expected. The major accomplishments were digging out the rock pathway from 2 inches of soil & weeds, and using kitchen scissors to chop the large grasses down to the ground level. Yes, tedious and not too smart. But it’s done. YAY!

This is what the bed looks like now.  I still have to find a way to get the grass out and prepare the soil without taking too much time and planting too late because of increased temperatures this spring. I found a shovel and borrowed a hoe, but I’m not strong enough to use them properly or the roots and grass are too thick.  The garden bed is the size of a small truck bed.

Can anyone help me get ‘er going?

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Stephen V.

Hi Amanda: I enjoyed meeting & talking to you about your projects on Saturday! Regarding your DigIn–I thingk the first thing to determine is if your grass is BERMUDA. I have battled the stuff for over 30 years & here is what I came up with– I like the Patrice method of cardboard / mulch smothering. But if is Bermuda grass, the stolons will sleep in the dark nice & white & wait for the that warmth & sun which will surely come. then it is an explosion of tough stuff. My strategy is to kill it with kindness–you want… Read more »


Hi Stephen! Thank you so very much for your help and comments. I’ve been away from the computer for a couple days and just got to them. I was told my grass isn’t Bermuda, but I don’t know how to verify that. I decided I would plant a few peas in a giant pot so I won’t be late with them, and just plant whatever edibles in the garden once I can get at the soil. So yes, maybe May is a good time frame for that. Thanks!


At our old house the garden was a former swamp. The weed roots were really matted and thick, but somebody told me to use the shovel to wedge off the top layer of weeds. I had to sit on the ground and work the shovel back under the grass roots so they got shaved off in a layer. I could only do a small plot that year because it was so hard, but it was a start. It got easier every year. The 3rd year we borrowed a roto tiller, and Richard helped me till up a larger plot. After… Read more »


Wow thanks for the incredible story! Yes I think I’ll do what you did, and sit on the ground with a small shovel and shave off a layer of grass and weeds. I might be able to do that if I start from the path and work to the rock wall, which I haven’t found the edge of yet (so I’m not sure how wide it is). Is it easier to do this in wet soil? Looks like rain soon.


I think it would be easier in moist soil then in dry soil. Too wet might not be fun though.

Debbie Hackney

Big job ahead. Takes time and lots of strength. Watch out for those blisters. They appear out of no where! But, once you get the help you need to get it started, it will get easier. Good luck.
Wish I could help!!!


Thanks! I admire you and Pat P. for having such immense gardens. I’m not too keen on flower growing because we don’t have the funding for things that don’t pay us back in time, but your garden was certainly beautiful! I miss the chipmunks the most.

Stephen V.

Hi Amanda:
thought you might be interested in these folks–

take care,


That was awesome. “Money does not bring forth food.” I didn’t have time to read the whole thing, but found this essay rather interesting. I’ve been working really hard to directly bring forth food and clothing and shelter, instead of indirectly working to make money to buy the things I need. Even Ryan in his gentle understanding sometimes comes home from his paid job and questions why I “don’t do it for money”. Sometimes I question myself, too. But in 5 or 10 years it will make perfect sense why I’m doing these things, so long as a crisis which… Read more »

Stephen V.

Ah, the money ! Now THAT’S a can of worrms we can all share in.
Maybe @ next year’s DigIn I’ll do a short presentation on *organic economics.*
to be continued….
good luck,

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