How to Turn Your Sand Into Topsoil

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Garden plants need rich topsoil to grow.
Garden plants need rich topsoil to grow. (Image: Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Sandy soil is unsuitable for the growth of most plants. Its nutrient levels are quite low, and it won't hold water long enough for plants to access it. If you want to grow anything other than desert plants in your lawn or garden, you must first turn your sand into moist, nutritious topsoil. This is easy to do by adding a few inches of absorbent and nutritious amendments such as sphagnum peat and aged compost. Simply turn them into the top 8 inches of the soil to turn your garden from a desert wasteland to a rich garden habitat.

Things You'll Need

  • Aged compost
  • Peat moss
  • Shovel
  • Tiller
  • Hose

Spread two cubic yards of aged compost followed by 1 cubic yard of sphagnum peat moss per 1,000 square feet over the top of the planting area.

Mix the amendments evenly into the top 8 inches of the soil with a shovel or tiller.

Water the amended area with a light spray from the hose to moisten the top 8 inches of the soil before planting.

Repeat at the beginning of every growing season. Keeping sandy soil nutritious requires consistent effort on a gardeners part. Compost breaks down and is used up after roughly 6 months.

Tips & Warnings

  • A 2-inch layer of organic mulch over a planted bed will slowly add nutrients to the soil over time.

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