okay to use sand from sandbags in garden?

Murphysboro, IL(Zone 6b)

Hi everyone! We had some major flooding in our area a couple years ago, and we've had the 100 or so sandbags that were protecting our house stacked up under our porch ever since.

We have heavy clay soil, and I know you're not supposed to dump sand directly into clay. But a friend is bringing over a truckload of aged manure from her stables, and I was wondering if it would be okay to mix some sand in and use it to top-dress my garden beds. It seems like it would slowly and naturally get mixed in and help improve the soil drainage.

I have two questions: (1) Would this approach avoid the whole SAND + CLAY = CEMENT problem, or am I better off just adding the manure by itself? (2) What are the chances that this sand is contaminated with something that would hurt my plants? The bags were filled from the giant pile of sand that the DOT brought in specifically for the flood control efforts, but I don't know where it came from before that.

(Zone 7a)

I would avoid the problem altogether and not use it. It's the wrong kind of sand for garden use. I would also be leary of what sort of bacteria is in it. "Flood control" could mean that anything could have been soaked into it.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

It would probably be safer to use that sand to fill in low spots in your yard rather than add it to your garden. The best amendment for clay is organic matter. We use leaves and grass clippings that have had a bit of time to start breaking down. Around here, a lot of folks rake and bag their leaves for the trash pick up. I just load a few bags into the truck , bring them home, dump them in front of the mulch bin and use the lawn mower to shred them up a bit. When needed, I turn them into the soil and have excellent amended soil.

Murphysboro, IL(Zone 6b)

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. Hmm, I wonder what other creative things I could do with a bunch of questionable sand....

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Use it to build a retaining wall for a new garden bed? Or as the base for a patio? Build a giant kitty sand box...maybe not...grin

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

If your area floods on any sort of regular basis you could always just hang onto them for the next time it floods. Or else if floods are a rare occurrence, I bet there's somewhere near you that's closer to the river and floods more often so you could always see if there's a way to donate your sandbags to help the next time someone else gets flooded.

(Zone 7a)

Jean that would only work if they have giant kitties.

I like Ecrane's idea.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Grin....she asked for creative.... I like Ecrane's idea also. I am sure there are areas around them that can put the sand bags to good use.

Murphysboro, IL(Zone 6b)

Believe it or not, I've contemplated the giant litterbox idea :-D. We have some outdoor cats who came with the property -- they're generally quite good about leaving my mulch alone, but I do find the occasional nasty surprise.... I'm sure if I dug them a lovely sandbox, they'd never go anywhere else!

We are going to add a small patio to our yard, so I'll use some for that, and I guess I'll just save the rest as is for emergencies. The neighbors say it floods every 15-20 years or so, but as crazy as the weather's been lately, I'm hesitant to trust past data.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

See kwanjin....giggle...my litterbox idea wasn't that far out...grin. And hey, a patio too....must be on the same wavelength, Loligo....grin

(Zone 7a)

Wish somebody would build ME a giant cat box! LOL All the giant cats in our neighborhood use it for one, anyway.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Fortunately, my three keep most of the neighborhood cats away and they have a sand pile out behind the compost bins. Occassionally one of them may scratch in the beds, but they usually take the nasty stuff to the sand box.....garden hose is a good teacher...grin Now if I can keep the neighborhood from walking their dogs without leashes.....might be able to keep them out of my pond. The labs around here love to take a dip....easier than going to the end of the block to the creek....grrrr.

(Zone 7a)

Our cats kep the other cats out. Monty is a bit too friendly with them and Isis had a run-in with one that gave her a nasty bite. It got infected and now she doesn't try. Too afraid of the "face-biter".

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Poor baby...I'd be afraid of a face biter too, grin

(Zone 7a)

Loligo, let us know what you do with it. Might give some of us ideas.

West Palm Beach, FL

Do you have kids? If so, you could plan a playground-type area and use the sand as the ground cover. You could build some type of junglegym, swings, fort, etc., dig up a section of yard, make sure you use gravel for adequate drainage, and put those 100 bags of sand to good use!

Milwaukee, WI

Simply put-no! Never in a million years use this sand--hand it over to the In our city-dump for recycling--tell them what it was used for. And when trying to improve your garden--start up you own compost bin--when adding sand to your garden from an outside source make sure it is the coarse sand, not playground sand. Coarse sand will help improve your soils. Caution when adding sand to your gardens--many local garden centers sell the play sand--take time and talk to the garden center who knows exactly what you are talking about. Also remember to improve your soils nitrogen rich material comes from compost, manure, blood meal, and alfalfa hay.. Peat moss is another source although it is a little expensive it to acts as an excellent natural organic matter; however; remember peat moss is a little more acidic.

That a short version--read, read, read and keep reading--check out Dave's forum for additional answers to questions. Some stories, some hints, some home brew--all true and tried--celebrating our 35 years "God's Garden" Wildlife Habitat 2gonefishing

P.S. do you add your eggshells to your compost or directly in the soil--at this time of year if you place a shell on the grass within a day or so the earthworms will come to tunnel it under. Isn't nature amazing!

(Zone 7a)

I have to try that eggshell thing. Sounds interesting.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I think we lost Loligo.....must be figuring which of our stellar ideas to go with...grin

West Palm Beach, FL

Haha yeah maybe he/she is building him/herself a private beach...

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

I sometimes get the feeling that the Questioner has left the building and may or may not return....sorta like the Basil and Slug threads....grin Guess that means the question was satisfactorily addressed. Yea!!!

West Palm Beach, FL

The best was the guy from asia (China, I believe) who asked for someone to "identity this plant". That thread was shut down and it was the one and only post from the guy lol...I believe you were in that one a lot!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Yup, that was the Basil thread...we have a couple more we started after they locked that one out...Is there ever enough of Luping's basil, and Basil Mint and other goodies. We have sorta formed a Gypsy band and roam from thread to thread. There are 7 of us plus friends...drop in sometime. Lots of plants and laughing and stories.....

There is also the Slug thread...over a thousand posts and going strong

Murphysboro, IL(Zone 6b)

You guys are having quite enough fun on your own ;-D.

::goes back to lurking on Daylily forum::

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Figured since you were a subscriber you had a hang forum....grin

West Palm Beach, FL

These are my hang threads...the free ones lol!

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

When you are ready, Grantman, there are some really good forums here. although, I must admit I haven't seen a quarter of them yet....too busy hanging out on the freebies....GRIN

West Palm Beach, FL

Haha yeah I plan to subscribe eventually. I may do it simply for the hibiscus, mango, and Florida gardening boards lol...

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Less than 2 bux a month....I know you get hit by Starbucks for more than that in a week....grin

West Palm Beach, FL

Hahaha I've been staying away from Starbux. My wife, however, can be seen sometimes twice a day in that drive through lol...

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Gosh, Starbucks is becoming as ubiquitous as dust....they are everywhere. I tend to hit the Java shop at the local Barnes and Noble occassionally during the summer....I have a thing for Mocha Granitas...grin

West Palm Beach, FL

I enjoy a nice iced coffee with a double shot of expresso on a hot sunny day...

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Really gets you past the summer doldrums doesn't it? Grin

West Palm Beach, FL

It sure does. My wife makes the best coffee (her parents were born in Costa Rica), yet she prefers to go to Starbucks (or should I say, $tarbux) lol...

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Something someone else makes is always a bit more appealing.....even coffee.

Leicester, NC(Zone 8a)

I have to tell ya, I had my first taste of expresso. At least I think that is what is was. My daughter took me to this drive thru she frequents and I told her I wanted an expresso thinking it was just a cup of strong coffee. They handed me this tiny cup of black substance that for all I knew was coffee syrup. Needless to say I returned it with a request of a real cup of coffee lol Never thought to research before I went for a cup of coffee.

Athens, OH

Flooding is one of the worst natural disasters, and it is very difficult to deal with.

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