Monday, August 8, 2011

Landscaping Using Your Own Garden Rocks

After tilling, thousands of new rocks are unearthed in my garden

If your garden is full of small (or big) rocks, don't get mad -- use them to your advantage.

This year I decided that after each ground tilling session (about once a month), that I would take time to walk through, collect and store all the newly unearthed rocks from my garden.

These will be used when the weather cools for landscaping around the yard.

With the garden freshly tilled the day before (and ready for Fall vegetable seed planting), yesterday was "rock picking-up day."

My personal method of collecting and storing rocks

If you choose, the most effective way to collect the most rocks is to get on your knees and pick up the rocks as you crawl around. Another method is to bend, stoop and pick up the rocks but this is harder on your back and joints.

However, I personally prefer to use a nabber (pictured, above right - click image for more info). This allows me to nearly effortlessly collect rocks without any bending or much bodily stress. But even this device isn't perfect -- after a while, the nabber does strain your hands and wrists a little, so I wouldn't recommend this device if you have arthritis or weak hands/wrists.
Before beginning, I place numerous empty plant containers at various points equally spaced apart (image 1, above). This ensures that all containers are merely a nabber reach away - reducing unnecessary walking around.

Decide what size rocks you want to collect. For me, the rocks have to be the size of a quarter or bigger.

Next you simply use your nabber to pick up your rocks (image 2a), and place them in the closest container you see (image 2b). Walk around and collect rocks from the entire area until you're finished.
When you're done collecting, empty each container (image 3a) into your transport of choice - in my case, a wheelbarrow (image 3b).

Transfer and dump your load (image 4) to a collection pile somewhere around your yard.

Keep repeating every time after tilling, or in places where you have used your hoe. Rocks seem to unearth all of the time.
Your rocks can be used anywhere. Here I've used them to circle plants.
If you have a fairly large garden and lots of rocks - as I do - each year should yield enough rocks for several large landscaping projects. If your garden is smaller with fewer rocks, it may take years to collect enough rocks to do anything significant. But it's all worth it.

Final words

Get in the habit of keeping a bucket for rocks near your garden at all times. Rocks have a strange way of "just appearing," and gathering them as you go expedites your collection efforts.

HINT: The best time to pick up rocks is after it rains and dries off a bit. The rain cleans the dirt off the rocks and makes the mud darker -- the resulting contrast makes seeing the rocks much easier

SUGGESTION: Got children around? Wanna get them involved around the garden? Consider offering a child some monetary or other reward to collect the rocks. You can pay them by the bucket-full, by weight, or however you choose.


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