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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I faithfully add compost to my garden annually, but I'm finding that it also has lots of debris, which makes it difficult for me to plant seeds.<br><br>
I am also finding rocks, sticks, pebbles, etc and I don't know where they came from. The squirrels maybe?<br><br>
In any event, I planted my veggie seeds already, but don't know if some of this debris is going to prevent some of the seeds from growing. I didn't have a very good garden last year. Same issue...<br><br>
What can I do after this growing season to improve the situation?<br><br>
The only think I can think of is using some sort of screen to try to separate it out, but that might be a major undertaking and may not work.<br><br>
Suggestions?<br><br>
I see some gardens that have such fine, rich soil and I wonder how they get that!
 

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How big is your garden? That will probably affect suggestions.<br><br>
I grew up with a huge tiered raised bed type garden. There was always tons of organic (and even inorganic) debris - tiny sticks, clumps of charred wood from the stove, rusty nails (because apparently that was a fad some 30 years ago to add straight to the garden for iron).. That garden is still producing very very well, and my grandfather is still picking out nails, so depending on what you mean by a lot, perhaps that is not your problem?<br><br>
Lots of people do screen their compost though before adding which takes care of a lot.
 

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I just noticed this with my driveway garden.It seems like it is a pebble bed! I am going to try and rake the pebbles that are on the top.Picking them-well that would take forever,but I will over time.<br><br>
I will rake and then add a layer of soil over the bed.I suppose with the rocks being more below it would aide in water and air movement.<br><br>
I usually turn and break up beds by hand every year,and it is then that I pick out the sticks and stuff. When I buy soil it is usually unscreened since that is 14 a yard compared to 23 for the screened top soil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's a small garden, maybe 5 ft x 12 ft and another bed that's 4 ft x 20 ft.<br><br>
It just seems like it's not a very good planting soil for tiny seeds to take root.<br><br>
Raking would not work because the debris would go right through the rake.
 

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I can think of two things that might work - you could shovel off the first couple inches, screen and return the dirt as you harvest this fall. That sounds really labor intensive and don't forget that thermal hoist is going to bring you new rocks every year.<br><br>
You could also change gardening methods. I don't know how you manage your soil right now but maybe switch to a no-till method so over the years you're gardening on newer layers of broken down mulch, or convert to raised beds and add a soil-less mix and screened compost every year?
 

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You don't necessarly need potting soil fine dirt in your garden either, a little sticks, rocks, pebbles can make a good soil to grow in. I understand what you mean though about how dirt can just swallow up the tiny seeds, a couple ways around that is to screen out some of the dirt and use a half inch or so of that to sow the tiny seeds in or you can start a really nice dirt filled bed that you start all you seeds in and pluck out the plants to transplant into the garden.<br><br>
I sift my compost before spreading, have a 1x2 inch mesh that I use mostly and then I have a 1/4x1/4 in mesh that if I want some extra nice dirt that I can run it through. Be careful though whether you are screening your garden soil or the compost, you harm a lot of worms that way.<br><br>
Much of the things you are seeing is probably just migrating up from below, whenever you disterb the dirt the rocks and stuff just creep up through, seems like the big stuff should sink down with gravity but soil just doesn't work that way, the big pieces always creep to the top.
 

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I wish my garden had more debris, I think it would drain better. I swear I could make pots with the clay! That said, clay is also not the ideal thing to plant seeds in. What I've done in the past that works very well is just dig a small trench where you are going to seed (maybe 2" deep.) Fill with high quality potting soil or screened garden soil, put in the seeds, and cover with the same high quality soil. Yes, you need to buy a bag of soil each year, but it works well and makes it easier to cover those little seeds. I figure it is sort of like starting them in pots, without all the transplanting nonsense. Happy gardening!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Lightheart, where did you get your mesh for screening?<br><br>
I like all the ideas everyone has provided. Thank you!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lkmiscnet</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15433234"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Lightheart, where did you get your mesh for screening?<br><br>
I like all the ideas everyone has provided. Thank you!</div>
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Our garden is full of rock. It's new construction and they brought tons of river rock in. We are in the process of sifting it. I bought 1/2 inch metal screen from Home Depot. DH brought two home and one was too big and the other was tiny, so I went back a couple days ago and I think it will be perfect.
 

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Local farm and feed store, try a hardware or lumber place if you do't have something like that in your town, or as the pp said, a big box home improvement place. Ask for hardware cloth or welded wire fencing.
 
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