Talk Dirt To Me

Gardening in Alaska presents big challenges, whether it's the extra effort in finding plants tough enough to survive our Zone 2-4 climate, communicating with like-minded Alaska gardeners, or keeping up with the latest trends, issues and solutions. We'll try to help with that. We'll also tour gardens from Homer to Anchorage to Wasilla to Willow whenever we get the chance, and post the best garden photos around. Presenting a forum about cold-weather gardening and for cold-weather gardeners is what we are all about. We hope you'll join us on the Talk Dirt garden blog.

Photographer and gardener Fran Durner (fdurner@adn.com) writes the blog.

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USDA program for high tunnels offered

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The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service has a pilot program underway that will share the cost of high tunnel structures with producers under the agency's Environmental Quality Incentive Program. Participants will have to meet program eligibility and there are some specifications that are required in the structures themselves.

The pilot program is a part of the Secretary of Agriculture's Know Your Farmer - Know Your Food Initiative.

Click here for photos and to see how UAF Fairbanks Experiment Farm has been using high tunnel houses.

Participants must have land available that can be used for the high tunnel system. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) regulations require that the system be functional for a minimum of 4 years with the contract holder bearing sole responsibility for maintenance and repair of the system. The program is presently offering to pay for 50% of the cost of the system.

Click here for a PDF outlining the program and specifications.

For more info contact Meg Mueller, District Conservationist for the Kenai and Anchorage Field Offices at (907) 283-8732 x100, or the Alaska State Agronomist, Helen Denniston, at (907) 761-7756.

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