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What are the Pros and Cons of Adding Sand to Your Garden Soil?

In gardening, talking about soil is not as exciting as choosing plants. However, getting to know more about your garden soil is like navigating through a different world under your feet and discovering why it is called the foundation of your garden.

Before turning into ‘plant parenthood,’ it is crucial to consider different factors like budget, time, resources, and open-mindedness to new experiments (e.g., adding sand to your garden soil). Although this one is not relatively new, first-time gardeners have zero knowledge about this. 

In this article, the pros and cons of adding sand to garden soil are discussed.

The Pros of Adding Sand to Soil

Sand is a naturally occurring granular material that varies in texture and colour. It does not hold water and contains large spaces between the particles, allowing air to pass through freely. 

Here is a list of the compiled advantages of adding sand to your soil:

1. Sand promotes proper airflow in garden soil. 

Sand promotes proper airflow in garden soil

Sand promotes proper airflow in garden soil by being ideal for soil microbes to thrive. Generally, the soil is home to several microbes like bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. These microbes help in plant growth by assisting in converting organic matter into nutrients for the plants. However, for them to effectively perform their contribution, these microbes need oxygen to survive. 

Without proper airflow, it will be difficult for these microbes to be oxygenated. Ultimately, when you add sand to your garden soil, the mixture becomes conducive to the growth of these microbes. 

2. Sand helps soil maintain a higher temperature.

Sand helps soil maintain a higher temperature

Sand can heat up faster. By mixing it with your garden soil, the sandy soil can maintain a higher temperature than other soil types, contributing positively to the germination process. 

3. Sand in the soil is ideal for growing vegetable crops.

Sand in the soil is ideal for growing vegetable crops

Several vegetable plants thrive well in sandy soil, as evidenced by smoother root crops with fewer fibrous roots. In addition, it is easier to clean vegetable crops as sandy soil does not give off a sticky texture compared to other types of soil. 

The Cons of Adding Sand to Soil

After we have already established some of the reasons why adding sand to garden soil can be beneficial, let us now look at why we should not do it.

1. Sand makes soil dry out fast. 

Man watering plants

Sand makes the soil dry out fast. It does not have the characteristics that retain moisture. With this, it is crucial for you to frequently water your plants if their soil is mixed with sand. 

2. Sand makes the soil more acidic.

Woman putting fertilizer in the soil

Soil is not acidic, but adding sand to it contributes to being acidic. Suppose your plants thrive in acidic environments, then good. But if acidic environments are not conducive to their growth, then as a gardener, your job is to amend your sandy soil’s pH to make it less acidic. 

How do you amend your sandy soil’s pH?

For you to amend your soil, you must watch out for its salt levels. First, apply organic matter (e.g., compost and mulch) to your soil. Find out which mulch is best for your garden

In addition, you may try adding nitrogen to your soil. In cases when your soil’s salt levels are at their peak, refrain from adding compost or manure. Doing so will only lead to damaged plants. For a seaside garden, it would be best to use plant-based compost or sphagnum peat.

What Every Gardener Must Know

Mulching plants

Mixing sand with soil can be both a good thing and a bad thing for your plants. With the pros and cons mentioned above, the final decision still depends on your preferences. However, trying this tactic is never wrong, especially when you know how to make soil amendments to avoid the cons. 

Here is a list of some helpful tips to try in your garden: 

  • Try the best soil amendments to retain water and increase your soil’s nutrients. These may include grass clippings, leaf mould, or well-rotted manure.
  • During dry periods, increase your watering frequency. Plants always need water for their growth.
  • Always choose the plants that thrive well in sandy soil. After all, you do not want to be frustrated with the results.
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