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The challenges of planting in sandy soil!

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Although Wasaga Beach has the longest fresh water beach in the world, for the gardeners, our area can sometimes be a challenge with all that sandy soil.  Of course, sandy soil has the advantage of draining well and it is oh-so easy to dig (and very seldom do you run into a rock when digging!!).  It also warms up way faster than clay soils does in the springtime which means we can get our gardens into the ground earlier than in other regions of the country.  But there are fewer species adapted to it compared to other types of soil.  Sandy soil is really not that common in nature and has distinct disadvantages too; most important to remember is that it does not hold onto nutrients or water very well.

Did you know that a plant which is adapted to sandy soil is a plant that is also adapted to drought areas and infertile soil.  One must remember that although easy to cultivate and work, light sand soils that dry out quickly are also low in nutrients. Whether planting in shade, partial shade or full sun, when you are choosing your annuals or perennials, it is important to select those plants and shrubs that will grow well in dry, infertile soil and that do not need constant watering to survive. Remember, we can have weeks in July and August with very little rain and watering everyday can get expensive indeed.

The key to success in gardening is to match the characteristics of your property to the plants that want to grow there. When it comes to sandy soil, the options are slightly limited, but there are still plenty to choose from. Because they share certain physiological traits that make them adapted to sandy soil, these plants also tend to look good together in the landscape.  Remember that we have such lovely wildflowers too in the South Georgian Bay; many which can be incorporated into your own gardens and landscaping artistry …from the beautiful Trillium in springtime to  Wild Columbine, Bear Berry and Wood Aster.

There are a couple of websites that I find very helpful when choosing plants and shrubbery which include  Birds & Blooms . They have a beautiful website where they outline (with photos) the top 10 plants for sandy soil and give lots of tips and tricks to assure your garden will be beautiful.  One suggestion from  Toronto Master Gardener suggests Geranium Maculatum, which is a long-lived plant that spreads slowly and has beautiful lavender-type flowers.  Check out their wonderful website for great suggestions to help you choose and plant in your own specific garden.

I love that personal touch too  which I always get from our local greenhouses and garden centres who have very knowledgeable, helpful staff who can steer you in the right direction when choosing your plants.  Ritchie’s Feed N Need & Garden Centre (705-322-2363 at County Rd 92, Elmvale) and Bradford Greenhouse Garden Gallery  (705- 725-9913 at 4346 County Rd 90, Springwater) are two that I love to visit for my gardening needs.  But you will also find me at the Superstore Garden Centre, Canadian Tire or Home Hardware as they stock beautiful plants plus all of your gardening needs and at modest prices too!!

Are YOU are thinking of calling this beautiful area home or perhaps want to have your own vacation retreat in Wasaga Beach?  Our Brokers, Scott (705-446-6602 ) or Chad (705-443-9444 or ) , and all members of the Campbell Team would feel privileged to help make your Wasaga Dream come true.  Contact us today!

Linda Campbell
Marketing Manager for The Campbell Team