Rocky Soils

Rocky soil is a problem for the gardener, but not for the plants. Plants grow just fine in rocky soil, as long as there is some soil between the rocks. But rocks make the soil difficult to work, and are constantly in the way.

For eons, farmers have picked stones out of their field and piled them at the edges. You can try to rid your soil of rocks by removing them one at a time. Eventually, you will succeed if you don’t dig too deep and expose more. If possible, hire a farmer to go over your land with a rock-picker. This is a tractor attachment that scoops up rocks from the surface and speeds up the job. Some rental agencies rent small tractors or front-end loaders with rock-picker attachments.

In areas where the ground freezes deeply, the heaving action of freezing and thawing soil works rocks to the surface, making rock-picking an ongoing task.

If the soil is very rocky, it might be easier to build raised beds and fill them with purchased, rock-free, soil.