Building your sandy soil for your dream garden
Sandy soils present a challenge to many gardeners because sandy soils are hard to work with. These soils are soils which cannot retain water or nutrients. Because of this many dream garden suffers set back leaving the homeowner confused and in despair as to what went wrong. The good news is you can still have your dream garden by making improvements to your sandy soils.
How to identify sandy soils
Let’s take a stroll into your garden, and see what we can find. Now what I want you to do is to scoop up a handful of soil in your hand, rub the soil with your fingers, how does it feel? if the texture is hard or gritty then it’s possible that your garden soil is sandy. To further inspect your garden soil squeeze it in your hand to make a ball and release the pressure, if the ball falls apart after you release the pressure then you are a step closer to knowing what type of soil you have.
The final test is if the particles size is large you have come to the end of your investigation and have solved the problem which is sandy soil. It is these size particles which are the cause for its poor water and nutrient holding capacity because of the space between them.
Sandy soils advantage and disadvantage
With all that has been said sandy soils do have some advantage so there is a good side to this soil type. In this section, we will not only be looking at the bad but also the good of sandy soils.
The advantages of sandy soils
- Sandy soils are easy to work with because this soil type has good drainage
- The roots of plants can penetrate sandy soils much easier.
- If you’re installing a garden which consists of desert plants and plants that requires very little water then these soils are great to work with
- Sandy soils are easy when comes time to pull weeds
- Digging holes in this soil type is very easy
The disadvantage of sandy soils
- The water holding capacity is poor
- The nutrient holding capacity is also poor
- Adding nutrients or fertilizers to this type of soil will leach very quickly before the roots of plants can fully absorb them
- Because of how lose sandy soil are plant roots cannot establish easy which means plants can topple over especially under strong winds
- High maintenance plants that are planted in sandy soils need constant watering which can way heavily on that water bill
- Adding constant fertilizers to this type of soil because of its poor nutrient holding capacity can also be a drain on your wallet
How to improve sandy soils
With that said let’s have a look at to how to make improvements to this soil type
You have assessed your soil and the results are you have sandy soil, you’re still determined to have that dream garden so now comes the time to make that soil improvement but where do you go from here, look no further continue reading for the answer. Adding organic matter is a great way to improve your sandy soil. Here is a list of natural organics that will work wonders
The benefits of organic matter
Organic matter has so many benefits which will build your sandy soils which will, in turn, promote healthy plants that you will be proud of even causing you to reap a good harvest. Adding organic matter to your sandy soil will increase your plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients.
Because of the conditioning effect of organic matter on your sandy soils your soil will be able to retain water and nutrients much longer. Working organics consistently into your sandy soils during the growing season will work wonders.
The use of mulch has many benefits, mulches can add beauty to your garden area, mulches help to keep weeds down, contributes to keeping the soil temperature cool on those hot summer days, mulches also protects the roots of plants in the winter season but what I also love about mulch is these natural organics can help to retain moisture for plant uptake and as mulches decomposes it adds nutrient to the soil which in turn will be taken up by your plants root and can also help in balancing the soil ph.
How to mulch
When adding mulch to your garden area it is good to add 2-3 inches layer around your plants. This layer of mulch will work wonders for your plant. Keep a close watch so as your mulch decomposes you can replenish it.
My personal story
I want to share a personal story from my childhood days. The first garden that I constructed was a vegetable garden, the area that was chosen was an area where we would burn tons of trash on a yearly basis. I can still remember telling my friend that I wanted to construct a garden and that the very spot where we burned trash was the spot that was chosen.
When he saw where I wanted to plant my vegetable garden he sort to discourage me by saying that, that spot would not work and that my vegetable garden would be a failure because of trash that was often burned there but little did he know that because of the tons of leaves and other organic debris that was dumped there this would be the perfect spot.
I did not let his words discourage me because I was determined to have my vegetable garden. The day came when I went to that area and begin to work the soil getting everything prepared to sow my seeds. These seeds consisted of corn, pepper, okra and pigeon peas. I sowed my seeds and spend many hot summer days working my garden watering, pulling weeds and so on and in a matter of weeks I saw the results of my labour.
My seeds sprouted and in a few short months, they were ready to harvest. I could not have been more proud of my garden and guess what my friend could not say a word because the proof was there of my vegetables that was growing so healthy. Now and again as I reflex over those years it is quite clear that because of all the organic debris that was placed in this area which rotted and some that got burned contributed to the success of my vegetable garden so ends my story. Organic matter is so important when it comes to conditing your soil to meet your plant’s needs where they will be able to thrive.
The final word
Make your sandy soils work for you by working organic matter in your soils. There is hope, all is not lost many gardeners can attest to the fact that adding organic matter made a big difference as their gardens were revived to its former glory which gave that WOW. So try these methods I know you will be glad that you did as you get the results you were looking for. Create that garden oasis as you connect with nature in the most amazing way.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.