How to Plant Seeds in Rocky Soil


Many aspiring home gardeners are afflicted with rocky soil and are stumped as to what to do. It is true that plants, especially seeds, have a difficult time taking root in rocky soil. After all, if the soil is too rocky, the roots have nowhere to grow, and trying to water them properly is near impossible since rocky soil is plagued with poor water drainage. Fortunately, there is no need to give up. With a bit of work, you can have the planting bed you always dreamed of to plant the seeds you always wanted.

Step 1

Choose seeds that are native in your area. They are more likely to survive in less than ideal soil conditions like rocky soil. Your local nursery should know which plants are native to your area. Alternatively, you can amend your soil as described in steps 2 and 3.

Step 2

Remove as many rocks as possible. This will help give your seeds as much of a chance to root as possible. Use a garden rake to remove surface rocks. You can also use a tiller to help bring rocks closer to the surface for easy removal. Dig with a shovel and physically remove rocks, if necessary. Do this as best as you can to the top 12-18 inches of your soil.

Step 3

Mix in organic matter, such as compost, to the top 12-18 inches of your soil to further improve your rocky soil. Add as much organic matter as it takes to fill in the planting bed after removing the rocks, plus about 2-3 extra inches. This will help reduce the rock density of the soil and will provide a raised planting bed, which is ideal for good water drainage.

Step 4

Sow your seeds. Depending how much seed you are going to plant, you can use your hands or a mechanical seeder to spread the seeds. Till the seeds about 1/2 inch to the soil, if necessary. Always follow the planting directions that came with your seeds.

Step 5

Water your seeds well, but don't let the water puddle on top of the soil. Keep the seeds moist at all times until they emerge or they will dry out quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds
  • Tiller
  • Garden rake
  • Shovel
  • Organic matter
  • Water


  • Dealing with Rocky Soil
Keywords: seeds rocky soil, improve planting bed, plants rocky soil

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.