Posted on: 21 May 2021
Sandy soil in the garden bed can be a major issue. Water drains quickly through sandy soil, which makes it difficult to keep plants properly irrigated. The fast water movement also carts away the nutrients your plants need. Fortunately, there are options for improving a sandy garden bed to make it more suitable for successful plant growth.
1. Add Organic Matter
One reason soil is sandy is because it's made of minerals but little organic matter. Compost is the secret to getting that organic matter into the soil so it has a better growing structure. A combination of garden compost and manure, such as well-composed animal or chicken manure, works very well. Apply a 3 to 6 inch deep layer and till it in as deep as you can during the initial garden preparation.
2. Improve Water Absorption
Although compost can help with water absorption and holding capacity of the soil, sandy soil likely needs more help. Add an inch or two of organic matter that absorbs moisture very well, such as coconut coir or peat. Not only will these amendments absorb water and slow the quick drainage of the soil, but they will also add some more organic matter to the site.
3. Amend for Nutrition
Ideally you can perform a soil test at this point to see exactly what nutrients are lacking. The compost will provide some nutrition, but the bed will probably need some nitrogen and other nutrients added. If you perform a soil test, then apply a fertilizer that matches the needs determined by testing. If you don't test, then a general-purpose starter fertilizer can be used.
4. Anchor the Soil
All of the amendments will wash away if you aren't careful. If you won't be putting in a garden right away, then plant a temporary cover crop. Annual legumes work well for this because they anchor the soil with their roots and also improve soil nutrition. You can till them in to further help improve the site when you are ready to plant.
5. Never Stop Improving
Continue to improve the soil every year. Till in a couple of inches of fresh compost before planting each spring, or top dress perennial beds with an inch or two of compost or topsoil. Over time, these annual amendments will build up the soil so that sand is no longer a problem.
Your garden is only as healthy as the soil it grows in. Contact a compost and topsoil provider like Templeton Gap Turf Farm LLC for more help.Share