Fixing sandy soil

vbgreensOctober 17, 2013

I'm a first year gardener and I live a block from the beach. Consequently the soil in my garden is very sandy. I think this is the reason I am not having much luck growing vegetables. not even in my raised bed, which has a fair amount of bagged soil in it..

So I am planning to try and improve the soil. I have read that organic matter/compost is what's needed here. And while I do have a compost bin, it's still fairly new, and not ready to be used just yet. I am going to have to buy some. I am currently looking at a soil/compost mix from Orchard Supply.. Is there anything else I could add to bring some life to my dirt? Suggestions welcome!

Thanks!

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calistoga_al

You have the right idea, but i think buying the amount you need by the bag, would be expensive. Check for landscape suppliers where you live and see about buying topsoil by the yard. This will be a mix containing compost as well as soil. Al

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:10AM
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gregbradley(Upland, CA USDA 9b Sunset 19)

What is your elevation a block from the beach?

I used to live on one of the islands in Huntington Harbor. I had two problems growing things. One was the very sandy soil. The other was that the roots would hit salty soil once they went down 6" or so.

New grass would be fine until it gradually built up salts since the salts wouldn't wash down into more salty soil. Removing and replacing it with new sod worked well for 5-10 years but trying to re-seed was pointless, at least with the commonly available types of grass.

I managed to get some citrus to do well by building a pot for them in the form of a 18" raised planter. Those trees did well until they reached about 15' tall and wide. They were removed in a remodel by new owners. My ficus elastica did fine in the natural soil. It is now about 30' tall and wide. How about finding plants that tolerate the salts well?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 10:46AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Lots of water. I find that heavily composted sandy soil drains in a day or two, so I have to water my veggie beds every day or every other day. You might want to check that. I added regular topsoil to my beds.

Otherwise, I agree with Al. You can get plain old topsoil to fill your raised beds, and build them high, to avoid Greg's problem.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:36PM
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