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Can You Garden in Pure Sand?


Recently, I wrote a post sharing some thoughts and inspiration on gardening in sand.

Last week we turned that post into a video and shared more ideas that have worked for us.

It’s more than possible to grow in sand. In fact, I prefer it to clay.

There have been some good comments so far, like this one from NoCare89:

“I have sandy soil (its not bad). I can water my garden indefinitely without flooding it which is fun. It dries out every day with more sun than overcast. But if I mulch, it stays wet for days. There’s all this stuff about fertility on youtube and most do rightfully encourage and praise mulching. But I think its still underappreciated. I’d argue all you really need to do is mulch with a variety of things. No fertilizers and no compost, because that mulch will break down and feed the soil. So if its a diverse mulch, you have more nutrient types coming in, good to go. That’s my theory on it anyway. If you think about it, a forest doesn’t actually compost. Nature mulches. The critters turn it around on their own time. We can differentiate compost as a purely human product where we direct nature to bulk-process some mulch at higher speed.”

By mulching with a variety, you are feeding the soil over time as the mulch is broken down by microlife. Very good.

And JK-Handyman writes:

“This is an issue close to my heart. I live on the coast in NC and have a decent garden in my back yard. my soil started out as mostly sand with very little organic matter in it. The first year I made 3 rows about 2 ft wide and tilled in compost I had made out of cardboard, food scraps, leaves, and grass clippings. Then I dumped several loads of free wood chips on top to hold in the moisture. It took a lot of work and I continue to add more wood chips and compost each year. I have 6 rows now and have a better garden than most peoples I’ve seen around here and fair soil so far. its far from perfect but its good enough to grow everything I want.”

It’s more than possible to garden in sand!

Happy Monday, and remember, on Saturday we’ll be in Jacksonville, Florida for the American Farmsteader Convention, and will have lots of food forest plants for sale. I’ll be giving a talk on Grorcery Row Gardening as well – hope to see you there.

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