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Using Hamra Sandy Loam Soil For A Nursery (And Filling Lots of Growbags)

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Hi, all,

I live in the Samarian Highlands of Israel. I started a permaculture nursery last year and it's gone well so far. Because I don't have a ton of cash, I just got a truckload of soil from a dry riverbed, which was full of terra rossa with lots of organic matter. I used that to fill growbags and put them in beds I bordered with limestone I split, and ran irrigation lines with sprayers through them. I grew several hundred black locust, tagasaste, moringa, loquat, Asian apple pear, acacia nilotica and faidherbia ana seedlings in them from seed.

This year, I am looking at planting several thousand seedlings, mostly black locust and oak, with some more of the above on the edges. With that said, I have two questions:

1. Would hamra, our local sandy loam, be a good growing medium for seedlings? At least as good as the terra rossa? I will be transplanting them to a permanent planting site by next winter, so they will only be there for one growing season.

2. What are options for filling lots of bags quickly? The low tech solution would be to make something like an EZ-Bagger, which is a sort of handheld shovel scoop you put the bag over the back of, so that you can fill bags with a single motion. The high tech solution would be something mechanical. I am seeing bag filling machines on Ali Express for about $5000 US, before import taxes, which is quite high for me. Anything in the middle?
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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All you need to fill bags quickly is something like a back hoe and a funnel that fits the bag opening with the large end big enough for the backhoe bucket to fit.

Sounds like you have good plans and already tested them. Thumbs up to you.


Oops, forgot to mention that yes Hamra soil is good for seed starting
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