San Francisco is not the only city that has revived the dunes, but it is the one I know best. The western third of the city near the Pacific Ocean is located in an area once full of dunes and called the Outer Lands. My place is about 10 blocks from the order and when I dip a shovel into the courtyard soil, it is as sandy as Copacabana beach. Every gardener in my neighborhood has become an expert at treating sandy soil in gardens. Here are some tips won hard.
The good and the bad – Benefits of sandy soil versus disadvantages
Now the sandy soil in the gardens has advantages and disadvantages. Draining well draining, the water slides right through, so you never have to worry about rotting roots. It is also very easy to extract weeds from this type of soil, since the roots are only in the sand.
The negative part is quite obvious: the sandy soil does not retain moisture nor does it offer many nutrients to plants. Unless you plan on planting beach grass or scrub that grows on the dunes, your plants won’t last long unless you change the soil.
The quick solution for sandy soil problems
When I first moved to this area and examined the desolate expanse of the courtyard, it took only a moment to opt for the quick fix: raised beds. Building raised beds helps you overcome any soil problems – I have done this successfully in France, where the mountain slope is particularly rocky.
I installed some garden beds by building simple rectangles from wooden fence panels. Each was approximately 6 feet (2 m.) Long and 3 feet (1 m.) Wide. The planks were 61 cm (24 inches) wide, so when I drew the rectangles on the ground, they created large raised beds.
I dug the sand a little to sink about a foot into the ground, then filled the rectangles with a mix of potting soil and potting soil. Hi vegetable garden!
The longest solution to the disadvantages of sandy soil
Changing the current terrain is a long term solution when your yard is sandy. Over time, I have also worked with this approach, making a compost pile near the garden. Since I’m a vegetarian, every evening I added compost with fruit cores, vegetable peels and other compostable kitchen items. Autumn also brought fallen leaves.
While rotted manure is an excellent and nutrient-rich soil amendment, I haven’t used it due to the high salt content. My sandy soil came from the Pacific beaches, so the salt level was already quite high. This made using a plant-based compost the perfect choice.
As my compost was developing, I used it in the garden, layering it densely over the sandy beds, then working well. Over time, my sandy soil has turned into an excellent mix that allows many flowers, vegetables and shrubs to grow.
Sandy soil and gardening are definitely achievable if you know how to do it. While you could choose plants for sandy soil, the disadvantages include a not so vast selection. Raised beds, on the other hand, together with the modification of the compost, mean more plant diversity and a beautiful garden.