Then replace the topsoil, correcting pH if necessary and adding organic matter. The area should then be a foot higher than it was before, with an aeration layer under the surface to take care of excess moisture. If funds are limited, don't hurry the job. Do a little at a time but do it right. Piled black dirt won't be hurt if left for a year or more. You'll be surprised how many weeds will grow out of that pile: keep killing these as they appear and don't let them set seed.
Don't try to make a permanent lawn on such filled ground for a year at least: let it assume its final level first. It needs time to settle.
OVERCOMING SANDY SOIL PROBLEMS
The opposite condition to the one just mentioned is the sandy soil so well drained that even particles of organic matter are not held but disappear along with the water. If the gardener tries to build up humus in such a soil, he is likely to be disappointed.
The remedy is costly in time and labor. It consists of removing the soil to a depth of 12 inches (for flower and vegetable gardens) and laying down a "floor" of tarpaper. Then a layer of organic matter is applied over the tarpaper, and the sand replaced.
After this treatment, organic matter and fertilizer will still be washed down by rain, but their descent will be halted by the tarpaper. Plant roots find stored food at this level and grow well. In a matter of five to six years, the paper rots out but by this time the mass of roots and accumulated organic matter are enough to act as a blotter for moisture and plant nutrients.
This system has worked for me, even in Florida, where every
known plant food deficiency can be seen on sandy soils because nutrients disappear almost as soon as applied.
Water and air comprise one of the leading partnerships in nature. The total success of Gardener's Loam depends largely on the harmonious relationship of these partners. Plants wilt if either one takes over the soil for a prolonged period-which explains the recommendation of a "moist, well-drained soil." Plants are made up almost entirely of materials obtained from water and air. And, since plants can use only water-soluble nutrients, an artificial water supply should be assured as a supplement to rainfall.