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Soil Preparation — soil testing, soil building, soil quality

How do I take a good soil sample?

Make sure to use clean implements, and dry your samples before sending them to the lab. The UAF Cooperative Extension publication, “Soil Sampling” provides step-by-step instructions.

Where do I send my soil sample(s) for testing?

If you want Cooperative Extension to interpret soil test results and give you recommendations regarding conventional and/or organic soil amendments, you’ll want to use Brookside Labs in Ohio. Mail this form, with your samples and payment, checking “S001AN” (standard N-P-K, pH, + available Nitrogen) test at the bottom of the page. The cost is $16.50 per sample. To expedite the process, have the results emailed so you can easily forward them to the Cooperative Extension agent.

Labs that offer additional testing geared to organic growers (but don’t meet the NRCS requirement for Nutrient Management incentives) include:

How do I get soil test results interpreted?

Make an appointment to visit with the nearest Cooperative Extension ag and horticulture agent. The Cooperative Extension office for the Kenai Peninsula is in Soldotna in the same building with ADF&G at 43961 K-Beach Road between Poppy Lane and Subway. You can call the office at 262-5824 to find out who to email or fax your results to.

Where can I get topsoil, bulk compost, and peat?

Central Peninsula

  • Stuart Northup, Sterling, Mile 77.5, 262-6458 — peat/sand/dirt mix
  • Cloudberry Acres, Sterling, 394-5961 — compost
  • Kenai Feed, 283-1929 — compost, peat, topsoil
  • Snug Harbor Seafoods, Kenai, 283-6122 — fish compost

South Peninsula

Where can I get other soil amendments?

What if I want to become a “certified organic” grower?

There is a national organic certification program, and a variety of regional and alternatives. For information on USDA Organic certification, see the FAQ’s on “Becoming a Certified Operation”. Some Kenai Peninsula growers have opted for the Certified Naturally Grown program.