I live on an island in Howe Sound, the soil here is typical Sunshine Coast soil... that is, lots and lots of stone, boulders and sand with a little organic material scattered throughout. The garden area is about an acre on a southern slope and has been in existence for about 4 years. There is no ferry service to the island, only barges. I have been gathering whatever materials I can in order to try create some topsoil and have purchased a chipper (no shortage of larger organic material here). I compost everything I can, including leaves, seaweed and other miscellaneous debris. Some of this material is also used as a mulch in the summers. I have had some success in growing fruit and vegetables, flowers, etc. but the depth of my usable soil in most areas is only about 6-10 inches below which is hardpan. The result of this situation, is soil which requires considerable amounts of watering during the hotter periods of the summers. My question, finally, is whether placing newspaper, magazines, cardboard and the like below the soil and above the hardpan, would enable me to retain more moisture without any detrimental effects. I understand that this material would ultimately decompose and contribute to the soil. Any other suggestions would be happily appreciated.