Copyright © Sheryl Williams - Yardfanatic 2016. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Texas Spa Treatment - Shoveling Rock In August

This is load 2 of 3. It's cheaper to have rock delivered in
these bags on their flat bed.  Pain to empty them though.
Ed drags them with the truck to tip them over.
Do you have clogged pores?  If so, I have just the spa treatment for you.  It's called shoveling rock in the middle of August.  You'll have a dewy complexion in no time because every sweat gland on your body - some you didn't even know you had - will blast through your skin like artesian wells.  Our water bill nearly doubled this month due to laundry because you can't leave those grimy, sweaty clothes in the  hamper.

What madness has inspired me to do this?  Gardening of course.  I have two projects in the works for the back yard.  The first is to create wicking vegetable beds with rock pathways and an arbor.  The second is to install a pond.  Both required a lot of rock.  Today I finally wised up and got up at 5 am to shovel the stuff, getting in several hours before the death star rose to slay me.

My "wicking" project is an expansion of the ditch on the uphill side of the house.  This area catches and holds the runoff from my neighbors lawns on my block.  It's a substantial amount of water when we get one of our Texas thunderstorms - almost of inch of water in about 30 minutes.  My idea was to dig it out further, replace the soil with larger rock, then direct the water between some of my vegetable beds and the blackberries.
The concrete pavers function as "gates" to
slow down the water so it can soak in. I got
the idea from how the flood irrigation was
set up on the sheep pasture we used to rent.

The rock I used was 3" crushed limestone.  I was hoping to find something else that wouldn't make my soil even more alkaline, but the price difference was huge. So I'll just count on the compost in the vegetable beds to offset the higher pH.  Good thing I collect coffee grounds from work!

Once a layer of this went down, I topped it with 3/4" crushed granite.  I really like this rock.  It's a pretty shade of pink and I just love the crunchy sound it makes when I walk on it.  (I blame the Masterpiece Theater shows on PBS. All those estates with crushed rock driveways.)  By topping the larger with the smaller rock, it settles in nicely and packs down to make a firmer surface.  This is pretty important since this is a major pathway for the wheelbarrow and hand truck, and I need to have both wheel along without me having to fight it too much.

3" crushed limestone used as the
path bed.  The water should flow through
 here nicely without relocating anything.
The rock will continue down the side of the house until it collides with my vegetable beds.  At that point I will direct the water into a rock-filled water well with a soil center.  The water will soak into the soil and then wick up to the vegetable bed.  I'm hoping this will substantially reduce my irrigation (I'm VERY stingy with my rainwater) and give my neglected blackberries some additional moisture - which will boost yields and make the fruit much sweeter!

All that for sweet berries?  Why not?  I figure all in all it's cheaper than a treatment at Lake Austin Spa and Resort although I could REALLY use a manicure after handling all that stone!


  1. Man, that's quite the project for the middle of summer. Hope it works as planned.

    1. Thanks Katina, I know, not the smartest thing I've ever done but a good use of our "dormant" season. Should all pay off when I get the fall garden going.

  2. Sounds like a good plan to capture the neighbors run off. and it will do double duty as a pathway. Clever. I'm sure all that hard work will give you a good deal of satisfaction when you see the finished product at work.

    1. Thanks Jennie! It's already taking shape and looking great. I'll be standing out there during the next thunderstorm to watch it work.

  3. Is that why my pores have looked so good lately? I've been slaving out in the August heat too. The humidity was so high over the weekend my shirt was drenched in no time. At the end of the day, I wish I could just burn my clothes, but I'm too frugal for that, plus we're still under a burn ban. Enjoyed your blog. It's great to know I'm not the only lunatic sweating in August heat.

    1. I meant to comment on how radiant you've been looking Ally, the lunatic rock shoveling has done wonders!

  4. Oh my gosh, I'm not coming to YOUR spa! Wow, I love your projects though. And your stamina. Can't wait to see the new wicking beds. And yes, I clear out my pores like in a Finnish sauna working outside these days.

    1. It has been hot, that's for sure. Looking forward to fall!