Sandy soil is low in fertility and water-retention. By adding a few simple soil amendments, you can transform sandy soil into wonderful, healthy…
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Sandy soil is low in fertility and water-retention. By adding a few simple soil amendments, you can transform sandy soil into wonderful, healthy garden soil.
Sand particles are the largest of the three main soil particles (sand, clay, and loam). These large particles make for a loose, easily-dug soil. The problem is that this soil is just too loose. Water and nutrients run right through sandy soil, so it dries out quickly and any plants growing in it become sickly due to lack of water and nutrients. The good news is that sandy soil is easy to fix by adding a few organic soil amendments. In fact, you will see an immediate improvement in your soil, and therefore in your plants, by following these simple steps.
Organic matter, such as compost, manure, grass clippings, leaf mold, and even hay and chopped leaves, acts like a sponge in sandy soils. While water runs right through the sand particles, organic matter soaks it right up. You will need to add at least four to six inches of organic matter and then dig it very well into the top six to eight inches of soil. The key here is to really mix the sand and organic matter together. Don't just bury the organic matter under the sand. You can use either a shovel or a tiller for this, but a tiller might do a better job of mixing everything together.
To give your sandy soil some real structure and water retention, add topsoil for instant results. As with the organic matter, add about four inches of good quality topsoil and mix it into your existing soil very well. The key here is to start with good topsoil. When you hold it in your hand and squeeze it, it should crumble fairly easily when pressed. If the topsoil holds its shape, most likely it contains a lot of clay. Adding clay to sand can result in cement. What you are looking for is soil that will form a ball when moist but crumble easily when poked.
If you do these two things, your soil will be almost unrecognizable. It is a good idea to give the soil a few weeks to settle after you've finished tilling or digging in all of your soil amendments. After it settles, you will be ready to plant. To maintain this crumbly, fertile soil, simply add organic matter at least once a year, and mulch your garden to retain moisture and add even more organic matter.
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