Before reading further, check out “What’s My Soil Type” if you haven’t already. It’s a great introduction to the topic of garden soil.
Gardening in sandy soil can be a challenge for gardeners, especially those who want to save water. As I mentioned in “What’s My Soil Type,” water moves freely through sandy soil. This also means it moves freely past plant root zones! When this happens, soil dries out more frequently and plants wilt and/or die if not given enough water.
The best way to improve sandy soil is to add organic matter, which is decomposed plant material and/or animal manure (emphasis on decomposed!). Adding organic matter to your soil is the ONLY way to improve sandy soil. Many well-meaning gardeners may offer options they’ve tried “successfully” but ask for proof (University based research).
Since OM breaks down after a few months, you’ll need to add it every time you plant. I recommend about 6 inches of compost mixed into the soil to a depth of a few inches. You can do this with a shovel (great workout), tiller or tractor. This is easy to do when planting a changing landscape like annual vegetable plants, but what to do when planting lawn, trees and shrubs? The same exact thing. In this case, you’ll only get one chance to do a good job preparing the soil. To keep sandy soils healthy, add mulch. To find out more on mulch, read the post here!
*Special thanks to Far Out Flora for allowing me to use their photo! Check out their awesome website, click here