Weed Management and Soil Fertility on a Sub-Arctic Farm

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $14,803.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Alaska
Principal Investigator:
Michael Emers
Rosie Creek Farm


  • Agronomic: barley, peas (field, cowpeas)


  • Crop Production: cover crops, fallow, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
  • Pest Management: competition, field monitoring/scouting, physical control, mulching - plastic, row covers (for pests), soil solarization, mulching - vegetative
  • Production Systems: permaculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter

    Proposal summary:

    Weed management techniques for small-scale vegetable farms in Alaska are rarely researched, making weed control a challenge.

    This Farmer/Rancher Grant will test several weed control methods on local organic farms. Weed seed populations will be counted after regular vegetable production followed by bare fallow and then counted again after regular production followed by a year of bare fallow and a year of field peas or barley. Although bare fallow is an effective means for weed control, soil will be tested after because it often reduces organic matter. The project will also pilot plasticulture in Alaska, or covering the aisles with landscape fabric.

    Success would reduce labor costs and encourage farmers to adopt sustainable practices because of the expertise available in controlling weeds on sub-Arctic farms. Other growers will be informed about the project results through conferences and publications.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.