I am a past ECHO intern who is heading to Senegal in about a month to complete a six-month international extension to my internship with Beer-Sheba Project, one of ECHO’s partnering organizations. Beer-Sheba Project is a fully-functioning farm, agro-forestry program, and agricultural resource center for young farmers across West Africa.
My main role will be helping Beer-Sheba get a nursery up and running–mostly of fruit trees, along with some native trees for reforestation and agroforestry.
I understand how important those first few weeks/months of life are for the long-term health of the tree, and how prominent of a role soil quality plays into that in particular.
Does anyone have helpful resources/tips/experiences related to nursery start-ups? Particularly advice for homemade seeding/potting soil mixes using locally available materials that provide high quality soil texture and fertility? (charred rice hulls, coconut coir, compost… etc)
We are already looking at using 50/50 compost and sand as a base, but are interested in what else could increase the quality of the mix. The soil most of these trees will be planted out into is sandy loam at best, and plain sandy for the most part.
I’d appreciate any input on this topic, as well as any other helpful tips dealing with all things nurseries (containers, seedling beds vs bags, etc)