When preparing soil to grow culinary herbs in Alaska, it should be taken into consideration that the area has a climate that can suffer extreme temperatures. In winter the soil can freeze up to four or five feet underground, and sometimes even more. Daylight hours can be sparse too in winter, with about three hours of sunlight being the norm.

Alaskan winters are hard not just on soil but on plants and vegetables. In the spring, Alaskans can usually be found starting their seeds and preparing things indoors rather than outside. The soils they use are clay loam and these are often very difficult to work with. The problem is they have a very short growing season, as the last day of frost is May 31.

The growing season in the region is very short which means they need to prepare the land throughout the whole of winter so it is ready for the growing season in spring. They often do this well before the first frost of winter touches the land. Among the techniques they utilize is to test the soil. They do this by either going to the local university or buying a test kit. As the kit is cheaper most people go with that.

Soil is checked in the spring and in the fall, when the land is not frozen. Testing in fall is particularly vital because by doing this they get a head start on improving the earth before winter, so it is ready in time for next spring. Neglecting the land can mean having to import soil from third parties in order to improve its texture and composition.

Some gardeners use horse manure to improve the soil, but care should be taken when doing this. They can contain chickweed seeds and cause no end of difficulties if they are not composted properly. Organic manure can also be used, but beware of anything that is high in nitrogen as it has the capacity to burn mature plants and seedlings. Over the whole of the winter this is then worked into the land.

When preparing for spring, one of the methods that is often used is to distribute wood ash onto the land. Alongside this method is one that involves distributing coffee grounds. Though this is only used in a thin layer, this simple formula can help to discourage flies from laying eggs that breed root maggots.

During the cold weather it becomes even more important to protect the land against the harsh climate. What gardeners often do, to help prevent the earth from getting too cold, is to lay down black plastic mulch or clear plastic mulch. A further method they use, in preparation for spring, is to seed in greenhouses, moving the seedling when the land is ready for them.

When preparing soil to grow culinary herbs in Alaska there are three main things to bear in mind. The lack of daylight in the winter, the very cold ground and the very cold water. Sometimes the water is too cold to put on plants so people often use rain barrels. Whatever the weather, planting is a challenge in Alaska.

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