Sandy Soil

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Sandy Soil
« on: January 12, 2020, 18:05 »
Hi all, need some advice.  The soil in the garden of my new house is very sandy, which is great in one sense as I am able to dig it very easily but I have no experience in gardening in sandy soil.  I plan on adding as much manure and compost that I can get my hands on but I am not sure if it is possible to permanently change the structure or will this be just a temporary fix.  Are there any plants that will be particularly happy in sandy soil that will not require me amending the soil too much?



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Re: Sandy Soil
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2020, 20:20 »
The constant addition of organic matter will indeed help your soil, but it will always have a tendency towards sandiness.

Although you will always have to water more than someone with a clay soil, and you will lose nutrients more quickly, all is not lost.  Carrots are likely to be much happier with you, for example.
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Re: Sandy Soil
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 09:27 »
my late father in law's allotments was sand soil and he used to spread cattle manure on one half of the plot one year and then the other half the next year i think sandy soil is on the hungry side and needs as said plenty of organic matter he always used to grow part of the plot with green manure [mustard]

but as Yorkie said he used to grow some very good carrots and swede and parsnips but as i remember he also had good brassicas on the manured plot but the downside is as Yorkie said you will need to possibly water this ground more than the more heavier soil anyway take a look at the benefits of using green manure on your sandy ground [youtube]



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Re: Sandy Soil
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 11:30 »
Sandy soils almost never get waterlogged, which is good news for overwintering perennial plants, many of which would not survive in heavy soils in wet winters.

Less good news, as Yorkie and Rowlandwells have already mentioned, is that they lose nutrients very quickly, especially from the top 9-12" of soil, which of course is where the majority of food crops have their root systems.

Compost or manure does help with water and nutrient retention of course, but in my experience you will always need more supplementary fertiliser than with other soil types.
It took me years to figure out why my crops were mostly a little disappointing despite using Growmore/chicken pellets - I simply wasn't using enough, especially when conditions were particularly wet. Liquid feeding can also help kick-start struggling crops.

Most crops will do quite well if you bear that in mind, although I don't bother with brassicas (except radishes) because the soil just isn't firm enough to support them.
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Re: Sandy Soil
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 15:33 »
The allotment I took over in July 2018 has sandy soil, not only that the previous tenant does not believe in compost or manure. He is still on site on the other plot he had hence my knowledge. When I took it over it had a collection of very small beds with wide walkways between. These had matted weed roots in between 3 and 5 inches of composted woodchips on top of fabric.
This was dug up and piled up to compost down over winter then along with a trailer (large) load of cow manure this was spread over my 5 26ft by 5ft beds. You can imagine I hope, how much roughage that provided and the soil now has much better properties. The thing is you would need that sort of volume to get going and then annual top ups. But it was worth it because brassicas survived. Did not put manure in carrot/parsnip bed just compost even so I managed to win the wonky veg competition, LOL.



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Re: Sandy Soil
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2020, 16:44 »
Hello you could try something called Marl it's a very fine clay that's used to hold water on cricket creases if planting perennials it could be dug in round the plants  jezza

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