Home Forums Permaculture Discussion Forum Backyard Soil/sand question


This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  William 3 days, 3 hours ago.

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    Hi everyone, i have a question, since i am a beginning permaculturalist…. i’ve just started designing and working on my backgarden paradise plan, and i have a question regarding soil….maybe somebody has the answer for me?
    i just moved into my new house with garden, and started to remove the tiles that covered the garden soil. underneath is a layer of sand, which is covering a typical dutch clay ground. the sand and clay are not good for veggies to grow, so i know what to do (cardboard, humus, compost etc) but what to do with the sand??? should i take sand out? or can i leave it, to be mixed with the rest of the soil eventually?

    thanks so much for viewing my question!



    Hi, I’m also a beginner to permaculture and soil specifics, but in my understanding, sand is one of the ‘antidotes’ to overly clay soil–after organic matter. And my understanding is also that adding organic matter is good for too-sandy soil and overly clay soil. . .

    I have found a similar spot on my site under concrete pavers I’ve removed and I figured the sand will maybe help me with my highly compacted clay underneath–I’ve added cardboard and organic matter to the top–directly on the sand without mixing. Sometimes it’s recommended to add sand for crops like asperagus and carrot–so I’m thinking in the fall of trying those out here.

    Hope that helps–unfortunately I can’t say if it worked yet. . .



    hi trisha, thanks so much for replying! sounds like clay and sand are the perfect components together then!


    Daniela Guerrero

    Hey, best thing to do is mix the sand in with anything you will be adding. But remember to build your soil from the top down. So don’t get too worried about what is on the very bottom. Deep into the soil it is natural even for excellent soil to not be or look as good. Prepare your garden right and mulch or sheet mulch very thick and allow it to break down for a bit before you start planting. As long as needed, and for starters just cast out pioneer plants and don’t worry too much right away about your early vegetables. Depending on your zone I could name few pioneer plants that would do the job.



    Sand + clay on its own in the right mixture can form cement. The way to avoid that is to add lots of organic matter. It sounds like you’re already planning to add a lot, so you should be fine. You may also want to check out hugelkultur: https://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  Eliza.


    thanks everyone. valuable tips!



    The only thing i can recommend is biochar, all other organic matter will need to be replaced periodicly. Biochar on the other hand will not need to be replaced as often, if kept from floating away.

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