So you start a major gardening project…only to realize you have sand-filled soil. It’s enough to make anyone start frantically googling “topsoil near me.”
Don’t fret! Many plants thrive in sandy soil when given a little TLC. You can also amend your sandy soil or even fill raised beds with your preferred soil mix.
Topsoil delivery, 50/50 soil delivery, and plenty of other services on the Sacramento landscape materials scene are ready to help you out. But before you order your first growing soil delivery, let’s learn a little more about how to work with sandy soil.
Characteristics of Sandy Soil
Sandy soil feels like just that: soil that’s gritty from lots of sand. It’s loose and doesn’t easily harden into clumps. While that means it’s easy to till and work, it’s also more vulnerable to wind and water erosion than some other soil types.
Sand is made up of shells and rocks, and neither of those things is very absorbent. Sand particles also tend to be bigger than clay particles or other soil components, which means there’s more empty space for water to slip through. When you pour water on sandy soil, it will drain away quickly.
As moisture in sandy soil drains away, it takes nutrients with it. Sandy soil is often called “light” soil because it lacks both nutrients and moisture.
Sandy soils absorb heat quickly. A sandy soil bed can be warm enough to sow some kinds of plants even in early spring. It will also cool off quickly in the fall, which can encourage some plants to go dormant earlier.
Sandy soil tends to be acidic. Plants can be very sensitive to soil PH level, with some preferring alkaline soil and some preferring acidic.
What Grows in Sandy Soil?
Many home gardeners dream of dark, loamy, nutrient-rich soil. So finding out they have a yard full of sandy soil to work with can feel a little disappointing.
But many plant varieties thrive in sandy soil. These species perform best when they’re not at risk from sogginess, over-fertilization, or getting trapped in compacted soil. Sandy soil provides all these key conditions.
1. Root Vegetables
Carrots, potatoes, radishes, beets…root vegetables, in general, do well in sandy soil. Quick drainage encourages roots to grow downwards. It’s also easier to develop large roots in sandy soil rather than compact clay.
Just make sure your soil is free of rocks, dirt clods, and other obstacles to root growth. Rock-filled soil results in forking, twisted, tough-to-peel carrots!
2. Lettuces and Other Greens
Lettuces dislike sogginess but can thrive in well-draining sandy soil. Other hardy leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, can also tolerate sandy soil well.
3. Other Vegetables
With a little love and attention, plenty of other vegetables can grow in sandy soil. Tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, and corn can all benefit from sandy soil’s loose texture, heat retention, and drainage. Make sure they’re still getting enough nutrients and moisture to flourish.
You can grow fruit in sandy soil, too! Watermelons thrive in sandy soil. Just make sure they have enough nutrients, moisture, and space to grow.
Many popular herbs are derived from wild cultivars that thrive in dry, sandy parts of the world. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage all fall into this category—which means sandy soil is great for Mediterranean food lovers!
6. Ground Cover and Grasses
Can you have ground cover, or even a grassy lawn, with sandy soil? The answer is yes, as long as you pick the right cultivars and water/fertilize appropriately.
Sandy soil is no obstacle to flowering plants. Desert blooms can be some of the most spectacular wildflowers in the world.
But you’re not limited to blooming cactuses. Lavender, phlox, columbine, zinnias, and black-eyed Susans are just a few of the impressive flowers that thrive in sandy soil.
8. Shrubs and Trees
Many of the shrubs and trees native to dry locales thrive in sandy soil. Look for oaks, cedars, pines, and others for trees, as well as heather, barberry, and many others for shrubs.
Growing With Sandy Soil
Erosion is a concern for any gardener. But it can be an especially big problem with sandy soil. Use mulch to minimize erosion at vulnerable spots.
Depending on how well they’ve adapted to sandy soil, some plants may need extra attention when it comes to providing moisture and nutrients. Water them frequently and apply fertilizer often.
Working With Other Soil Types
Sandy soil has some of the largest particles in the soil type spectrum. Clay soil has some of the smallest.
Clay soil is tough to work with and can easily become waterlogged. But it also retains plenty of moisture and nutrients, making it a good environment for plants who devour both.
Silt is an intermediate soil, with particles that are smaller than sand but larger than clay. Silt can retain moisture and nutrients like clay while remaining easier to work with. It has a floury texture when dry and can easily become crusted or compacted.
For most gardeners, loam is the gold standard soil type. Loam is a mixture of sand, clay, and silt, bringing out the best characteristics of all three.
Control Your Soil Type With Amendments and Raised Beds
Your gardening goals may not line up very well with the soil on your property. Are you stuck with the soil you get?
Not necessarily. You can make your soil hospitable to a wider range of plants by adding soil amendments.
Compost, peat, and worm castings can boost nutrients. Mulch and shredded leaves can improve soil structure. Vermiculite and other amendments improve moisture retention. Even a little sand can be helpful—it improves your soil’s drainage.
With raised bed systems, you don’t have to rely on your property’s native soil at all. Use our simple calculator to figure out how much soil you need. A quick topsoil delivery will have you ready to garden with your ideal soil blend.
Save Your Back—Get Growing Soil Delivery
Whether you’re interested in fertilizer, mulch, amendments, or a comprehensive topsoil mix, you’ll need to get some heavy bags of material to your property before you can start growing with sandy soil.
You can save gas, time, and your back by getting a growing soil delivery straight to your home. Mr. Good Stuff provides high-quality Sacramento and Elk Grove Landscape material delivery.
Interested in learning more? Shop our site today to learn more about getting your perfect soil.