What is Sandgardening?

Its name is what it does…it’s a means of producing clean fresh organic food using sand – instead of soil – to grow plants.  

The sandgarden is the easiest, safest and most cost-effective route to organic clean fresh food for your family.

Why not soil?

Just so we’re clear, we have no argument with good soil whatsoever.  

Soil-based gardening can be productive and deeply satisfying to those with the necessary knowledge and skills.

For those who do not have a green thumb, however, it can be a frustrating rollercoaster.  Weeds and insects…and plant stress/disease due to climate and inconsistent feeding and watering…all serve to erode your resources, productivity and patience.

Regardless of the capability of the operator – or the method – even organic soil gardening generally involves digging, weeding and distributing large quantities of soil supplements and amendments like compost or mulch.

The big concern is that Iike fresh water, the amount of arable land was/is finite but, because of the way that humanity has used both resources, the amount of either that is available to us is under the double jeopardy of increasing populations and soil degradation and loss through…

  • climate change
  • ongoing urban growth
  • pollution of soil
  • desertification
  • erosion
  • aquifer depletion
  • soil salinity
  • loss of biodiversity

So, if we have barely enough arable soil – and we’re losing what we have at an astonishing rate – all in the face of a growing world population – we’re going to have to find different ways of doing things.

Why Sand?

Sand is far more available than any soil type – much less good organic soil.

Sand can be managed to provide the ideal plant-growing environment…both physical and microbiological.

You can systematise your food production when you use sand…providing the ideal mix of drainage and water retention – and intermittent irrigation – so your plants have all the water and nutrients they need without running short – or becoming waterlogged.

Sand is the most cost-effective filtration method ever…available since before recorded history…and used to capture the solid wastes and convert them to plant-available nutrients.

Sand is 100% recyclable…it can be washed and sieved and re-used…forever!

That said, let’s take a closer look at this (un)remarkable mineral.

What Exactly is sand?

Sand is a particle size rather than a specific substance.  While that will be of little comfort if you get it in the corners of your eyes – or your underwear – it’s important to sandgardening as you’ll quickly grasp.

It generally comprises mineral and rock particles that range in size from 0.02mm to 2mm (0.0008–0.08 inches) – finer than gravel, and coarser than silt or dust.

As you’ll come to understand, the particle size range of sand is more than just an academic distinction …it’s a critical success factor for the sandgardening method.

In the meantime, sand is the most commonly available substance on the surface of the planet…and silica quartz is the most commonly available sand.  

In some localities, feldspar, calcareous material, iron ores and volcanic glass might be the sand most commonly available.

As it happens, silica quartz is ideal for sandgardening.

How Big is a Sandgarden?

Sandgardens range in size from a bucket up a controlled-environment greenhouse of several thousand square metres.

What can I grow in a sandgarden?

The better question might be “what can’t I grow in a sandgarden?”

The answer is…not much!

You are not limited to the usual fruit and vegetables either. You can grow root crops, melons and vine crops, fruit trees, ornamentals, grapes and flowers…and even potatoes. 

You can also use a sandgarden to propagate plant and tree seedlings.

Is Sandgardening difficult to do?

No.  Sandgardening is arguably among the easiest of all ways to grow plants. 

Once you have the water tank and the sandbed…and the pump and timer…and some suitable sand…the intermittent watering system will take over the day-to-day (life and death) matter of ensuring that the plants get food and water in a timely manner.

While sandgardening is premised on some very complex microbiology, its actual operation is disarmingly simple…and its most important functions can be fully automated…so that you just flick a switch and go about your life secure in the knowledge that the most important things in your sandgarden are occurring when and how they should.

In short, it doesn’t get any simpler.

Of course, if you’re like many sandgardeners you’ll want to experiment…to tinker. If that’s you, we have lots of areas for you to experiment – and compare.

Who can build and operate a sandgarden?

Virtually anyone… including those facing physical and intellectual challenges.

Sandgardening can be designed to suit gardeners with mobility needs by using raised beds that permit wheelchair access.

It’s also an excellent learning aid for ‘kids’ of all ages…from 5 to 95.

Where can I build a sandgarden?

Virtually anywhere – but particularly suited to:

  • Any place where freshwater is in short supply.
  • On pavement and sealed surfaces.
  • On rocky atolls.
  • In hot arid environments…including deserts.
  • Inside a controlled-environment greenhouse – or an indoor grow room.
  • On any balcony that is well enough engineered to support the weight of the sand.
  • Wherever the local soil has been polluted with toxic chemicals.

Now, it’s time to build our first sandgarden.