I broke the rules.
My husband said he knew I would. Secretly I did too, but I was really trying to hold off. I didn’t wait the whole season to make changes to the backyard. I just really couldn’t help myself. It became obvious that this gravel:
…was really truly a waste of space. And since it will take a whole year to turn that gravel into good soil, I decided to break the rules and start now. I didn’t want to cart in a bunch of new soil and I have a ton of yard debris from clearing overgrown bush/trees.
Here’s how I did it. I wanted to keep the new apple tree and I thought it would be cute to make a true circle around it. So I used a branch that looked to be about the radius of the circle I wanted and made a ring around the tree.
Then I took my flat shovel and pushed the gravel away from the drawn circle. I used the old pavers that bordered the gravel around the tree.
I went with two rows, mostly to use up the pavers.
As you can see the ground around this area is PURE clay. To the point where you can’t really stick a shovel in it. Almost to the point where you consider using it to make a clay sculpture. But not quite. So I am not going to fight it and instead will just build the soil on top of the clay. It is currently about 5 inches below ground level and then I will probably mound it so I figure I can get about 10 inches of good soil for planting. I think that will be excellent. For now, I am starting with the logs, branches and leaves that have been sitting out on my concrete patio for the past month. They have actually decomposed quite nicely in that short time. Here’s what the area looks like now:
As soon as I get to it, I plan to put some finished compost or dirt or something on top of the leaves, but for now I’m ok with it naturally decomposing. I have no one to impress ;).
As for all the gravel I that vacated the space, I didn’t want to waste it. About 80% of it just went around the current raised veg beds and the rest is in either piled around the apple tree or sitting in those blue tubs (in the pic above).
So all in all, I feel a bit guilty about breaking the rules, but it was a worthy cause!