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Getting the soil ready for Alaska?  RSS feed

 
                      
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My wife and I are about to buy some land in Nikiski, Alaska, and the soil is covered in debris like grass, weeds, dead trees, branches and needles.  I think the trees around are spruce and birch.

The soil seems like it's full of clay and sometimes kind of soupy.

How should we go about preparing the land to grow lots of veggies?
 
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Location: NW Oregon
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Raised beds are a necessity in Alaska...
 
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Here is what I have found to work so far:

1. Get your soul tested. Most soil is low in nitrogen and acidic.

2. Remove the moss and roots. I have 120 acres north of Willow and cleared 3 acres this June and still had 18 inches of frozen ground under the r-30 moss where as the little bit that I had cleared the year before was dry and ready to work. The cold ground is also why we have low nitrogen in our soil, the soil microbes never get a chance to get working.

3. Choose a garden location that gives as much early season sun as possible.

Soupy soil could be a problem if the spruce and birch are big and health then I would say your ground is solid but if the spruce is stunted you may have a permafrost lens under the soil, walk around and dig down with a post hole digger to get a feel for whats under the surface.

The UA COOP system has a lot of resources for figuring out your soil
 
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