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Sandy soil transformed into fertile vegetable garden

Kind of a Big Deal
Kind of a Big Deal


Clay and compost, manure and fertiliser used to help nourish and improve water-resistant, sandy soil.


Garden Bed.jpeg


The project


We are in Perth and our area is basically grey/black sand called Bassendean Sands. It’s lifeless, hydrophobic and doesn’t hold onto nutrients. 




The main problem is that our soil is so water repellent that you can pour water onto it and it will pool on the surface for a long time. This means it is not penetrating down into the soil to reach the plants' roots systems. 



So how do we overcome this problem? I’ll show you how I do it in our garden. Let’s turn sand into soil. 




Step 1


This garden bed is a nice sunny spot that I want to grow more edible plants, summer edibles. I removed weeds and an old ground cover that was struggling. The sand is so nutrient poor and hydrophobic that even the weeds were struggling. I just pulled them out and used my garden fork to dig in and lift up any old roots etc.




Step 2


I added two bags of the Baileys Clay and Compost to this area. The sand is that bad I added extra. Look at the difference in quality and colour. I love this product because it has kaolin clay added to it. The clay particles will coat the sand and will help with water retention. 




Step 3

I used my garden hoe to spread out the compost. 




Then I used my garden fork to turn it over. This is extremely important, as you do not leave it on top of the sand, or it will turn into a dry clump. 




Step 4


Next I added two bags of cow manure. I made sure to turn this into the sand thoroughly. I like to add an animal manure to the soil as well as a clay compost. This helps enrich the soil. Water in well. And guess what? No water pooling on the top. It’s absorbing straight away. Oh, the joy of building up your soil. I love it and find it so satisfying and interesting. 




Step 5


Now to plant up. In this area I have planted cherry tomato, sweet basil, oregano, lemon thyme and heirloom striped cucumbers


Before I forget, I added Dolomite Lime to the soil to give extra calcium to the tomato to prevent it getting blossom end rot on the fruits. I love using Charlie Carp as my "go-to" liquid fertiliser. Add it fortnightly.  



Step 6


Once everything is planted and liquid fertilised, it is time for mulching. I love, and always use, Vivantes Triple C. 




This beautiful mulch breaks down into a feeding compost over time, and trust me when I say the earthworms love it. It enriches the soil and encourages healthy, beneficial microbial activity in the soil. 


So, that’s how I like to improve lifeless sand. And just so you know, you do need to top up, as needed, every few months. Happy gardening everyone.


Tools and materials


Materials used in the project: 


Tools used in the project:

A quick note for all gardeners. If you’re using bagged soils/mulches (or even if it’s not bagged and from a trailer load) please make sure you are always wearing a mask.


Home Improvement Guru

Afternoon @mich1972 

:smile: Sandy soil would be a pain to bring up nicely, looks like you have succeded. How has the soil held up over time? As in does it retain its healthier shape or revert back to sandy lome? I have clay based soil and have dug in compost and also dug down about a foot in my garden beds. The Gum tree in the back yard loooooves it :smile: And I get to grow things easily for a season or two before the garden becomes les sproductive I have noticed.



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