Fine sand would be ok to add to a soil that had plenty of humus in it (friable soil). What happens when you add sand to any clay soil is that the clay particles bind to the sand particles,
If the sand is large mesh and is added along with large quantities of humus this can make the soil begin to break up and start the soil building process.
Fine sand is added to pure clay to make pottery that will not crumble and is easier to shape into vessels.
Clay and fine sand works great if you are making a clay plaster or bricks. I don't think this is your plan.
I would not pass on the sand, unless you have no good place to store it for later use.
I would start my soil build with compost and humus reserving that fine sand (sounds like it could be meshed for sand blasting) for later in the soil building process.
Once the soil will crumble in your hand it would be ready for the addition of sand, course sand would be my first choice, and perhaps work down to that fine mesh sand.
s tran wrote:i have leaves, wood shavings, horse manure & straw composting right now. i dug out 1' of the top soil to replace it with a mix of those. my plan was to till that combination into the bottom so it'd be a combination of leaves, woodshavings, horse manure, straw, clay and sand.
Did you save that top 1' of soil to the side? If so, you have the beginnings of a great top foot of growing medium (soil). As Alex says, it should work fine with proper ratios of materials.
In the case of clay soil with the first dig one foot down, I would go ahead and do a double dig method but not mix my compost into the bottom layer. Rather than do that, I would put that bottom layer in broken up by the double digging and mix some of the sand into the compost and put that layer back on top. Some of it will then filter down into the bottom layer and you will have wonderful growing medium where most plants get their nutrients from, the top foot of soil.
Any time you disrupt the soil layers of mother earth, you have to give her time to re-establish the microbe world that helps plants thrive. As Alex says, let it sit, covered. The earth worms and other critters will come back and work the soil for you, making it all it can be.
I Love the mix you are composting it will be wonderful.