One of the principles of permaculture is “the problem is the solution”.
The raw material of my garden is clay with a lot of stones and small rocks. If I want to plant even the smallest thing it involves wrenching out a lot of stones and I end up trying to think of somewhere to put them as there are too many just to leave.
Last year I built a new perennial vegetable polyculture patch from branches, sticks, twigs and upturned turf. Mulched with all sorts of organic materials through the summer (grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, pulled up ‘weeds’ etc) it fared very well. It was productive and lovely to look at. However since then we have had a wet winter and as it has not had anything like sufficient time to mature into an good natured nicely textured soil much of this bed is very wet, heavy clay.
These are my twin ‘problems’ at this point in time. What I have decided to do is to collect up stones and place them on top of the vegetable bed. I have been sparing with them, scattering them about, not creating a dense covering, although I have enough to do so! I am hoping that mulching on top of them plus perhaps the action of worms and other soil creatures will mix them in with the clay and that will help improve the texture and drainage. It is an experiment, I haven’t had soil like this before, so we will see what happens!
Another solution may be to incorporate spare stones into paths and edges of the beds but not just yet.