Pea gravel in topsoil

Asked May 20, 2019, 9:09 AM EDT

Hello, I bought a topsoil/compost mixture from Howard County to use in my vegetable garden. I notice that the topsoil was very clumpy (from where it adhered to the compost, I think), is very clay-heavy and filled with pea gravel. I didn't realize this when I was putting it on as my top layer in a new sheet-mulched garden. Now the rains have washed away some of the soil and it looks like I've sprinkled pea gravel through the garden. Should I do anything about this? How can the new seedlings push through? Thanks for any thoughts.

Howard County Maryland

3 Responses

Hi- based on test results, Howard Co. is producing a high quality compost. The pea gravel may have been picked up when they were moving, mixing, or loading the topsoil and compost. The gravel will not affect germination or emergence. Even seeds directly below the pea gravel will be able to grow around it.

You mentioned that some soil washed out during recent heavy rains. If that is due to sloped ground you should seriously consider leveling or terracing the garden to prevent run-off and soil loss.

Thank you for your fast response! I built raised rows between mulch rows in my garden, so there's a few inches of compost + a few inches of soil/compost mix in a mound. I guess maybe it has compacted somewhat, but I think any runoff would go into the mulch rows. I'm guessing that having a raised row isn't something to be concerned about, but please let me know if that's not the case! I've attached a picture that shows what I mean.

Hi- your garden looks wonderful. The raised mounds warm up quicker and since the soil is deeper your plants can establish larger root systems for maximum plant growth and harvests.