Neglected Rocky Nightmare Transformation

| 8/13/2017 12:00:00 AM

Tags: gardening, herbs, weedy lawns, rocky soil, garden transformation, neglected garden,

Loretta LiefveldWe recently moved to North Central Idaho, and I have absolutely no idea how potatoes or any other root crops are ever grown here! Around our home, we have about 6 to 8 inches of topsoil. Under that is a 3- to 4-inch layer of hardpan clay. Honestly, at first, I thought it was leftover concrete from building the house. When I was finally able to break through and get a few chunks out, I found that it was red, and I could break it. Beneath the clay are rocks. Ranging from egg-sized to fist-sized, and sometimes even larger, the basalt rocks are something to be reckoned with.

No one has worked the garden area in over 20 years. The front "lawn" is mostly just mowed weeds with a border garden of white rock over heavy-duty landscape fabric, and a few flamingo statues.

Original front lawn_resized

The backyard also consists of weeds, growing in between 2-to 3-inch flat rocks that have been placed there in a single layer. I discovered that under the flat rocks is a layer of soil about 3 inches deep and then black plastic. All of this in rock-hard soil.

Original backlawn _resized

I have my work cut out for me. I don’t want a lawn. Period. Full-stop. A lawn wastes water and has to be maintained.  I’m going to transform this area from mowed weeds to an oasis of bushes and herbal ground covers. This is such an onerous task that I can’t do it all at once. I hope to share some insight with all of you as I struggle to transform this nightmare.

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