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Sandy soil in flower bed

I just moved to a new house with a garden. I am not a garden expert (grew up in apartments) but would love to learn. I noticed that the south facing side of the garden has very dry sandy-like soil and even if I water it (it absorbs water), it dries quickly afterwards. There are mature plants (fuchsia) on the flower bed but would like to plant other flowers (hydrangea).  Will I need to remove the soil and put new/better one or can I do something to improve the quality (e.g. manure)? thanks for your advice! 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,551

    well rotted manure would be perfect.

    Any bulky organic matter like that is what you want. Garden compost too. If you don't have one, make a compost bin.

  • TopsoiledTopsoiled Posts: 113

    Same problem here. Unfortunately I didn't do anything when I put the beds in so the ground dries out very quickly. 2 solutions - cover with well rotted manure in the autumn and by cover I mean 4 inches thick all over and come spring do the same but theN dig it in, or you could cover the areas without plants with wet news paper or cardboard and cover with compost or manure. This stops all the goodness washing away and you can plant straight into the compost. The cardboard will rot away over time. Basically add well rotted organic material and loads of it. Double or triple what you think you might need and then the same again!

  • Carolina3Carolina3 Posts: 2

    Thank you Hostafan1 and Topsoiled for your advice. Can I only put the well rotted manure in the autumn and spring?

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,551

    you can mulch at any time so long as the ground underneath is not bone dry , or frozen solid.

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 759

    i have very sandy soil too, Carolina 3.  When I cleared the flowerbed I dug in a load of manure, and I've found that every year I try and add more either manure or compost.  It will be every  two years I order bulk and add it in.

    You will also need to think about what to plant, for instance not moisture loving plants.  I have got things to grow but have found that they aren't at the height of plants in gardens that hold as much moisture. for example it has taken 4 years for my geranium roseanne to get any height, and this year we are there i think...

    Veronica's definitely don't like the sandy soil, they do okay and flower but then get mildew from mid summer and look rubbish, but I love the flowers too much to take them out.  Rudbeckia's seem to love the soil, and echinaceas.  There are loads you can plant but I've definitely been on a learning journey these last 4 years and am now aiming more towards prairie planting which seems to cope better with the dry sandy soil.  Astrantias seem to love the soil by the way yet they say they like moisure humus rich soil, so rules don't always apply. 

    Mulch away and add some each time you add a plant, it will all help. Have fun with your new garden.

  • IamweedyIamweedy Posts: 1,364

    Carolina that is very much like my soil. It has been improved with garden compost over the years.

    I have recently been getting more of this sandy soil from someone locally who has been digging out his garden and offered it on freecyle  to fill my raised beds.

    What I have been using to improve the texture is B & Q peat free compost. While this stuff is not good for seedlings or fine  planting  it is excellent for adding fibre and body to the soil.

    It is peat free and actually takes up moisture better than dried peat based stuff. The texture is quite chunky and that is what the very fine dusty sand in  my garden needs. 

    Just spread the contents over the beds and the worms will pull it down into the soil for you. It  has really improved  my soil and our fine sand has become much easier to dig.

    I was  going to try mulching with cardboard but without thinking put it in the recyling bin.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

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