So im in alberta canada (zone 3) and ive got 145 acres of land along a freestone river. There is about 80 acres in pasture the balance is spruce and polar forest. The pastue has been empty for dive or six years and trees are comming back. Under the land its old riverbed gravel sand or silt dependent on where you dig with 1 to 2 feet of topsoil. So its a calcium carbonate soil and a home ph test said ph was 7.8. I also tested the wellwater(15 foot deep well water is at about 7 foot) and got a 7.8 aswell.
So i was thinking about useing elemental sulfur to bring the ph down in the soil but then i read an artichle saying that the calcium carbonate would need to be nutreulzed. They shoulded a case with a soil ph of 8 where they as a test spread 10,000 pounds of elemental sulfur over an acre and lowered the ph to 7 for one year. Then it leveled out at 7.8.
After reading that i decided it was probly best just to grow things that will deal with the high ph.
Legumes seem to do well.
Anybody know of crops that work good in alkaline soil or maybe perfer it?
I havnt found many cases of alkaline soil acidic seems to be more common.
The more legumes and squashes you grow there the less alkaline the soil will become also you might consider making compost and using that to create compost extracts and teas to use for watering your crop plants.
Grasses will also help but mostly you want to get sulfur compounds working into the soil as you go along too. With a lot of calcium already there you might want to look at trace mineral sulfur compounds (sulfates and sulfites of copper, etc.)
If you can get a full scope soil test done, it should come with some recommendations to get the pH at least neutral. I am rather surprised that spruces are there since they are usually found in soils more towards the acidic side.
That was my other thought i have some spruce trees that are 30+ inch across which isnt normal for my area. Also there is lots of wild saskatoons which i believe also like it acidic. Ive also been thinking about strawberrys as a crop since there is thousands of wild ones on the property.
Maybe i already have some sort of micro bacteria or fungi dealing with nutrient availability or somthing.
Ive started some compost piles for the orchard and the garden but was thinking more along the green manure lines for the property on the larger scale.
If you have Saskatoon growing there, that soil is acidic.
Most likely you will find good microorganism density in that area, the spruces are more bacterial than fungal but that doesn't mean there won't be fungi growing around those roots too.
Nothing wrong with green manures at all.
The more angles you attack a problem from, the more likely it will no longer be a problem for long.
You can take a soil sample and request a microbiology test, that will give you fantastic information on the health of the soil.
In your area, don't be surprised to find several different soil profiles.
Ill be getting a soil test this spring when everything melts, we have 3 feet of snow right now.
I read some articles from the county about soils in the region and they all say calcium carbonate soils low in sulfur and nitrogen. But i see acidic plants growing not sure what to think about it, nature has figured aomthing out.
Im in the process of making a chicken tractor for the roosters, we are incubating our own eggs. Im hoping i can seed behind them and rake it in. Ive order small samples of lagume grain and broadleaf pasture plants.
The plan is to seed as many things as possible and see what grows.
Last year we started a small orchard and the plant growth was pathetic ill need to compost them this year.
Maybe with some compost tea aswell. Part of the problem was probably that we had a bit of a drought and it was hard to keep up with the watering of the young bareroot trees. Im hoping by next year they will have some better roots by the time the dry season starts.
The other thing is the pasture the grass grew about three feet high last year which i was impressed with im thinking about trying to do i giant tea to compost all this biomass as quick as i can. Would that work? Ill need to figure out what i can use to make it. I see recipies online for small scale but it wouldnt be econmical to buy the ingredients from the garden supply store to do it on a large scale. I guess all you really need is compost. I talked my nieghbour into letting me use his truck for this. It has a water tank that can hold 30 cubic meters. Then i would use my air compressor to airate it.
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