The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Sandy soil question

I am just starting to garden in a new area and the soil is drying out way too fast, 12 hours. I have killed more than 1/2 of what I have planted. Some things are doing good in this but others just die, some in less than a day. I do have a compost pile and it is cooking down but isn't ready yet. Is there something else cheap (we live on a fixed income) I can do to help hold the moisture in the soil? I am in zone 8b in southern Alabama. It is in the high 80s/low 90s daily now.

--- Lynne

SoilWe have too much clay, not too much sand, but the solution to the both is the same --- more organic matter.  If you live close to a grocery store, you might consider talking to the folks in the produce department and asking them to hang onto old fruits and vegetables for you to put in your compost pile, ramping up your volume.  Starting a worm colony would be an option to make your composting process move along more quickly too.

While you're working on your compost, you should still be able to come up with mulch...

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Try putting several layers of newspapers around your plants. Soak soil with water first. Weigh down newspapers with soil or use wood chips from tree trimming company. They will dump you a load if you ask them.
Comment by Errol Wed Jun 3 07:48:41 2009
The newspapers are a good idea too! You've obviously had more experience with sandy soil than I have. :-)
Comment by anna Wed Jun 3 20:42:12 2009

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