You might be surprised to know that plants thrive in sandy soil; most people believe that planting activities are supposed to be done on loamy soil alone, but that’s far from the truth.
Yes, we cannot oppose the fact that loamy soil is the best for planting, but sandy soil also accommodates planting for some specific fruits and vegetables with a tap root, which quickly penetrates the ground.
Some of these vegetables that grow in sandy soil include Carrots, radishes, parsnip, beet, onion, garlic, potato, lettuce, pepper, corn, aromatic herbs, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberry, squash, etc.
Let’s quickly learn more about these vegetables and why they do so well in sandy soil!
How To Grow Vegetables in Sandy Soil
Although they cannot retain as much water as loamy soil, little organic matter or compost can help in solving it will help the soil retain more water and provide the necessary nutrient your plants need to grow correctly.
Sandy soil is characterized by its low organic matter and soft water holding capacity, although some plants have unique roots which make it possible for them to grow on the soil. Below are steps for growing vegetables on sandy soil.
- You could start up by marking the area of your garden in the yard where you plan on planting
- Get some organic materials. It could be homemade or compost from stores or even a mixture of manure and decayed leaves or animal dung
- Ensure you cover the soil with at least 3 inches of the organic material also, till the organic 10 inches into the soil
- Mix evenly and level or smoothen the soil top with a rake
- Water the top 12 inches of the bed thoroughly. You might want to consider using a sprinkle to save time
- Bury the vegetable seed double the dept of what is recommended, but if growing from a pre-existing plant, bury it a few more inches than normal
- Once they attain a height of 6 inches, you could add a 3 inches layer of organic mulch. This will help provide more nutrient
- You will need to water the top two layers once it gets dry, although it may have to be more frequent during the summer period but be careful not to flood the plant
Vegetables That Grow In Sandy Soil
Growing a garden successfully on a sandy soil base is very much possible. Sandy soil has specific properties and advantages that make it preferable to certain vegetables.
They are less prone to carrying or contacting bacteria and fungal disease and can get warm earlier than other soils during spring, which leads to an earlier growing season.
Below are some plants that can thrive in sandy soil.
Carrots have tap roots, making it easy to penetrate the soil and absorb water from a deep distance. Clay soil with clumps might easily stop the root from penetrating deep into the ground.
The need for penetration makes sandy soil perfect for growing such plants; although carrots do not like too much watering, try to keep the area moist.
Tomato grows in any soil varying from sandy to loamy. They thrive well and produce more fruit in well-drained soils.
These soil aid in creating adequate air and reduce disease chances. Tomato roots are deep, and therefore they will need a well-suited soil like sandy soil.
This annual summer crop grows in a well-drained and warm environment, making sandy soil the perfect soil to grow on. Zucchini are quite heavy feeders, but they can produce in abundance once their fertilizer needs are met.
This fresh salad ingredient can tolerate the dryness of sandy soil more than any other green vegetable.
Ensure to water regularly and prevent the top layer of the soil from getting regular dry hydration, especially during hot summer weather. This applies to all plants during the dry season and not lettuce alone.
All deep-rooted plants find sandy soil more suitable, which is no different in the case of radishes. They tend to get ripe for harvest within three to six weeks in sandy soil.
Sandy soil is weaker than clay or any other type of soil, which makes it easy for the plant’s long roots to push through and sink down. Also, freeing your soil from solid particles like rocks makes plants grow even faster.
This aromatic herb also thrives greatly in sandy soil. They tend to enjoy the acidity and drainage level of the soil.
Potato grows best in sandy soil. This requires well-drained sandy soil because the PH level is perfect for growing potatoes.
The acidity in the soil helps reduce the chances of diseases. They also have a taproot system but require less water to grow. Excess water could lead to damaged tubers. You could ensure the soil is always moist.
How to Increase the Fertility of a Sandy Soil
Sandy soil is often known for its weak fertility and poor water-holding capacity. They are many ways to reverse this. Please stick with us and find out ways to improve your soil fertility
Adding a layer of mulch of compost to your soil every spring helps maintain soil fertility. This could be mulch, whether homemade or purchased, compost from decayed leaves and animal dung. They help strengthen the soil, thereby increasing its fertility and water-holding capacity.
Sandy soil loses water in both upward and downward directions, and the mulch of compost above will prevent the water from evaporating, leaving it to sink toward the plant’s root.
Nitrogen is essential for plant growth. Insufficient nitrogen could lead to low fruit production or cause leaves to turn yellow. Planting intercrops of valuable organic plants will help boost the nitrogen level and increase soil fertility.
You could also use fertilizers to help supply nitrogen to the soil. It would be best if you went for slow-releasing fertilizers; this way, you do not have to fertilize always, maybe after 2 of 3 months.
This is adding materials like limestone, hydrated lime, marl, or chalk to supply magnesium and calcium to the soil. When applied to acidic soil, they act as a base to neutralize or reduce the acidity and increase the soil quality.
They also help the plant develop healthier roots and break down some herbicides, which prevent them from causing damage to some rotational crops.
Earthworms help till the soil and increase the soil aeration, structure, water movement, plant growth, and nutrient movement. By doing this, they improve soil fertility and also enhance plant growth.
They are one of the major soil decomposers; they help break down organic materials and benefit by feeding on microorganisms in the soil.
You can improve your soil’s physical and even chemical conditions by constant soil rotation.
When you grow a particular plant on a soil for years, the soil or field runs out of nutrients, and changing the crop will give the soil enough healing time to regain the nutrient lost since the crops do not have the exact nutrient requirement.
Although planting leguminous crops will be of more benefit since they contain bacterias that can change the atmospheric nitrogen into usable nitrogen, restoring used-up nutrients to the soil.
Benefits of Sandy Soil
- One of the main advantages of this soil is its good drainage which makes your garden or field less prone to flooding. The water has more access to the lower part of the soil, which is good because that is where the root is based
- Sandy soil is lighter and, therefore, easier to work with than heavier soils like clay soil. This will be less work for the gardener if you plan on doing more digging or hoeing
- Usually, it takes time for the ground to warm up after winter, but this is different in the case of sandy soil because it gets warm quicker than expected, leading to early planting and early harvesting
Problems with Sandy Soil
- Fast drainage is a two-faced issue. It poses as much damage as good. Sandy soil is not the best at retaining water and moisture, it dries up quickly, and many plants will need to be watered even more than usual to make up for this
- Sandy soil has more acidity than other soils; this is not a significant problem; it just depends on the type of plant being grown
- In some cases, materials containing magnesium and calcium must be introduced to act as a base and neutralize the sandy soil
- Sandy soil has the poorest nutrient level. Nutrients tend to leach out due to their loose and free nature, which could leave plants malnourished or defective they are open to erosion from rainfall compared to clay or silty soil due to their light nature