RENEGADE GARDENER

The lone voice of horticultural reason

“You should add sand as an amendment to clay soils.”

Wrong. Sand usually compounds the problem (clay acts as Portland cement; add sand and you make concrete), or at the very least improves drainage not a whit.

Remember, clay is sand in advanced age. Clay is tiny, tiny particles of sand, and is in your soil as a result of time, glaciers, and you not realizing the importance of a soil test before you bought your house. The big reason people hate clay is that it doesn’t drain; the particles are so small they pack tightly and allow for no air to enter. Plants roots suffocate and rot in it.

Newest studies show that the best way to turn clay into a medium that doesn’t make you switch from gardening to drinking in the morning is to add copious amounts of organic materials, such as compost, peat moss, and/or composted rice hulls.

The more organics you add, the better, up to fifty percent. If you want to bring in some pulverized black dirt, that’s good too. Just keep the sand in the sandbox, where it belongs.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener