A safe alternative for a weed killer is mixing vinegar, salt and a spoonful of biodegradable dishwashing detergent in a sprayer and spray around your plants. This weed killer is cheaper than commercial weed killers and will safely dissappear.
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If there isn't a weed barrier (fabric or plastic) under the gravel, then yes, it is normal. Gravel alone will not prevent weeds from growing.
Weed barrier?>raspberry<The weeds in my garden poked holes in the black plastic sheet I laid under the gravel...
Surprisingly, a few layers of newspaper often work better than plastic sheeting, and they biodegrade nicely.(I have Japanese Knotweed in my area. Darned near unkillable unless you want to kill everything else in the area, but bashing on it frequently to keep it from photosynthesizing slows it down and eventually starves it out -- as long as you catch ALL the leaves; the darned thing forms networks.)
Claraification, in case needed: Dig down a bit, lay out overlapping layers of newspaper, cover with dirt. Any weed growing on top is easily pulled, and most (not all) things underneath get smothered. And it lets enough water through to not starve the plants you're trying to keep.)
Yeah, you have to get the heavy geo-textile (expensive) kind. The flimsy stuff most home and garden stores sell MIGHT last a year.