Cheap soil amendment for aeration -- Sand

Sand is one of the principal components of soil, being any particle that measures 2mm – 0.05mm. It is also easily available at garden stores and hardware stores.  (I have also written about how to use sand to control soil grants) Sand is an inexpensive soil amendment that makes it easier to work a garden outdoors and allows container plants to drain water meaning sand provides plenty of aeration (keeps the roots from getting too soggy). In general it dries rapidly and easily loses nutrients so you do not have to worry about toxic nutrient build up via sand. Sand comes in different sizes or grades; they all seem to work well as soil amenders. I like to mix one part sand with 4 parts potting soil but you can add more sand if you tend to water you plants a lot. Sand can also be used with other inorganic growth mediums since it will increase the weight of containers and the smaller particles (compared to perilite for example) will help the plant “hold on” firmly with its roots. There are several types of sand, depending on the area you live in. Sand with limestone will raise the pH. Sand may contain salt in salt water areas, salt will be toxic to most plants and needs to be removed from the sand. You can do this by soaking the sand in tap water for a day. If you have a heavy clay soil in your outdoor garden or you are looking to loosen up and make a lighter indoor soil give sand a try.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers

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