View Full Version : New to sandy soil

01-02-2009, 05:31 AM
Greetings everyone,
I stumbled upon this site in hopes of getting some information and help with my new yard. I grew up in Illinois where it seems whatever we planted would grow... I am now in North Carolina and I have to say I'm a little nervous about planting anything.

I have a back yard that is about a half an acre in size and completely untouched. I am curious as to what I might be up against with my yard full of sand? I currently see myself building a few raised beds this first year to see how difficult it is going to be to get anything to grow.

My long term vision is a yard that is not only beautiful to look at but one that I am happy working in. Shrubs, perennials, veggie garden are just a few of the types of planting I'd like to do.

Anyone here have any suggestions or experience with the North Carolina soil? I'm in Onslow County and my zone is 8.


01-05-2009, 10:31 PM
Hi Mike,

I used to garden in eastern New Jersey zone 7 sandy soil. If you're doing raised beds, you'll have no problem. Compost and peat moss can't be beat. You may have to water more often the first couple of years. Just keep adding a layer of comopost every year.

Growing grass could be a challenge, though. I had to water daily in the summer.

Good Luck

04-28-2009, 04:49 PM
Sandy soil will grow anything if you can get it to hold enough water and not leach all the nutrients away. The answer is to add lots of organic matter. This article might help.

Potatoes love sandy soil.

Rose White
02-10-2010, 05:46 PM
Choose plants which require little water and are drought tolerant. Plants which have hard, leathery, tough leaves tend to grow in hot climates. Pomegranate trees and date palms even grow well and produce fruit in a desert. Succulents like aloe vera, agave, prickly pear, yucca and flowering cacti do well here because they have thick waxy leaves which have the ability to hold water for later. They shrink when thirsty and swell when fed water.

Your garden can include gravel beds planted with flowering cacti, bamboo, aloe, colorful sedum, salvia, ice plants, ornamental grasses such as Mexican feather grass, herbs such as rosemary and lavender, agaves and other plants which love the heat and do not require much water.

Drip irrigation and mulch are excellent ways to conservatively use water. Or install a water feature which irrigates the plants via a trench and then recycles the water. Use plastic flowerpots and planters which hold the moisture better than terracotta.

Create a rock garden covered with white stones and river rocks and build hard landscaping like patios and decks. Place tiles around a large palm tree as a focal point and have a sandstone walkway leading to it.

Rose White, author
"Easy Gardens A to Z"