Garden design advice

coachtmb Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

Hi, I am in north eastern Ontario. I live about 45 minutes from Sault Ste. Marie on the shore of Lake Superior.

I have gardened in the past and did fairly well at it. I moved 4 years ago and the ground is predominately rock/flagstone. You cannot dig into it with a shovel. I want to get a garden in asap (I still have snow on the ground). I'm looking for any ideas on how to go about this given my ground type. I was thinking raised beds on legs instead of set on ground. I have thick brush here that I'm sure would infiltrate a garden bed if directly on the ground.

Any thoughts???



  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would definitely do raised bed gardening this year. You could the beds on the gorund or raised on legs, whichever you think would be best for you.

    With a raised bed, you can build the soil and then cover to help warm it up. I would suggest having a set up where you can cover the bed quickly to extend the season spring and fall.

    If you have compost or maunure on hand a layer of this in the bottom of your bed will give you extra heat as it breaks down more. Let me dig out some examples or raised beds and easy coverings.

    And welcome to TGN. If you haven't introduced yourself please do so. And check out our rules and regulations for the group. Denise

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    The thick brush might be controlled with a heavy covering placed on the ground and a deep bed. Or as you suggested raised beds on legs. I would cover the lower part of tehr bed with plastic or wood to help add heat below. Plastic would create heat and wood might but it would also be a place to store pots and garden related tools if water resistant. Denise

  • coachtmb
    coachtmb Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

    Thanks very much for your thoughts and info. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    @coachtmb Raised garden beds.


    Worm beds.

    wine grape seedlings just might enjoy that exact soil

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Raised beds could work very well in your situation. I use them extensively.

    There is no need to put the beds on legs. The weight of the soil you will need would require very heavy, solidly-built legs, and I would still worry about the strength.

    You can either accept a certain amount of root invasion from neighboring plants, including grass, and chop the roots back with a hoe every year, or you can put material in the bottom of the bed that roots will struggle to penetrate.

    I use several layers of newspaper in the first year, put on the ground in the beds before the soil. Cardboard can also be used. That should be enough to kill grass and most weeds directly under the barrier, but won't prevent plants growing outside the beds from repeatedly attempting to break into the good soil.

    I wouldn't overthink this problem. For a small garden, it's really not that difficult to occasionally chop back roots. You will have to weed anyway.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Under her raised beds, on level ground, Lynn Gillespie uses a very sturdy, pro-grade weed mat topped with leveled gravel, and then builds her beds on that foundation using cinder blocks for the edges. She positions the cinder blocks so that the holes are facing toward the sky, and then she can fill those with good soil and use them for additional small plants.

    I live in the Rocky Mountains, and -- after 5 years of trying to clear, till, amend, mulch, and etc. the heck out of my in-ground garden, only to be utterly defeated by pocket gophers and heinous weeds -- I have just finally accepted the fact that raised bed gardening is going to be my solution if I want to keep gardening (which I do!).

    Take that for what it's worth, but if your soil is very rocky and difficult to work with, you will probably be happy to just start with the raised beds so you can control everything about the process. I wish I had known then what I know now! But, hindsight is 20/20, right?

    That said, I saw this cool video on Facebook and saved it for future reference. You may enjoy these tips, too:

  • coachtmb
    coachtmb Posts: 10 ✭✭✭

    Thanks everyone for sharing your tips, tricks and knowledge. Much appreciated!