A thousand pounds of pea gravel, one shovel full at a time.
I should explain that I have a gravel path or open walking area for my garden. I have had it that way for several years and I really like it. We once tried a load of “crushed limestone” which is supposed to have the sharp edges that make it pack down tightly and make good pathways.
You see, I am a country girl and I like to go barefoot a lot. That sharp limestone is so hard to walk on! I go out in the morning in my jammies and I like to be able to walk in the garden barefoot if I want to. Pea gravel has smooth sides and is much more amenable to barefeet. Problem solved.
The Best thing about gravel areas? Little succulent sprigs root well and give you a new plant so easily.
The Worst thing about gravel areas? Weeds………………….lots of sprouting weeds ….lots!
And those cute little wood violets that look so purple sprinkled around the garden in the spring, these are the Devil’s handiwork a month later. They end up all over! Hundreds of them.
Easiest Way to Clean Pea Gravel Paths?
I use plain vinegar. I just buy it at the grocery store, that 5% solution is great for killing weeds. I don’t dilute or anything. I don’t even add salt or dishwashing soap. I just screw on a spray attachment to a quart bottle of vinegar and I can control the weeds as they pop their little heads up through the gravel.
However, if I am not diligent, the weeds can get overwhelming quickly and then you have to pull in the big guns. I use a tank garden sprayer with a shoulder strap. This works out to do a large area that you need to cover. If you spray on a hot dry day, the weeds will die out usually by the end of the day.
Do not get the vinegar spray on the plants you want. It will kill them too! But if you are careful, this is so simple and easy to keep you weed free. It is best done every week. Or when you see a lot of weed sprouts coming up, such as after a rain.
Back to my Pea Gravel Paths
For my birthday, I only wanted some pea gravel and help spreading it in my garden. Hey, I am easy! So we took off for our local landscaping supply yard. The pea gravel is only $28.95 per cubic yard. We got a half yard which is about 1000 lbs of pea gravel. Yikes!
We can’t get our truck into the backyard, so my husband usually gets out his Quad to pull the trailer into the yard and park it by the garden. Then we can shovel and wheelbarrow the gravel into the beds. ( After the weeds are cleaned out, of course.)
We made sure when we had the fence put up that we made a double gate so we could get big loads through. But Oops! I put a big shade garden there. So now he can’t drive the truck back there. Neither can we have a large truck deliver and dump things back there. But that is just the way it is.
So he backed up the loaded trailer right next to the garden and he and I have worked off and on shoveling rock! Oh the joys of gardening! Or some such words I keep hearing Jerry muttering under his breath.
Shoveling Pea Gravel
Fearsome words, but it has gone faster than I thought it would. I only worked about an hour this morning and then Jerry and I both worked for about another hour. We can’t sustain long periods of work this hard like we did when we were younger. But it is looking good!
Here is a photo of the small aisle between some of my larger hypertufa troughs. The gravel gets weeds in it, but also small sprouts of new sedum and succulents grow there too. I make sure I dig them all out before I treat with the vinegar.
We may need another half-yard of pea gravel, since I like it to be about 5 inches deep. I don’t put landscape cloth under it because I hate that stuff. I have previously put newspaper and cardboard box material under there. That works well. But now I just have to refresh the gravel every 2 or 3 years. But I like it.
It will be done soon……….I hope the Tylenol and BenGay don’t run out before then.
Update: We have moved away from this house and almost all of these plants. I really miss them. Wonder if the new owners kept the gravel beds for flowers or vegetables?