Friday, August 28, 2009

Clearing the Land / Soil Moisture

In the spring of 2008 we cleared a small area of land to use as a test spot. The land was pretty much all forested so we had to cut the trees down and remove the stumps. The land had been clear cut logged about 30 years ago so there are too many very large trees. Later in the summer we tilled up the land and put a 7 foot deer fence around the 55' x 100' test plot. The parcel of land is on a bench at about 620-640 meter elevation. That is about 180-200 meters above the Arrow Lakes. The site has decent air drainage with a 1.5/30 slope.

Here are the general coordinates if you want to find it on google earth. 49.50 north 118 west

One thing that we did at the start was take a few soil samples from the test area. We used a power auger and drilled down into the soil about 3-4 feet. In September it was pretty dry at depth but we assume this is largely from the surface plants (weeds) utilizing any moisture that falls and lower water levels in fall than in spring. The soil was tested at 6 inches and 12 inches. At 6 inches it is ph 6.5 loamy sand, very low in nitrogen but acceptable levels of other minerals and elements. At 12 inches it is ph 6.2 with virtually no nitrogen and similar levels of the other minerals and elements. The soil profile is significantly higher in organic mater for the first 4 inches then quickly degrades to sand and a few larger rocks (2"-4") at dept of about 18 inches and stays this way to a depth of 4 feet.

Soil moisture is one thing that could be a problem and we will have to check next year at different test holes how the moisture at depth is. There is generally speaking good annual precipitation and rain fall. Both Nakusp and Fauquier historically get between 800 and 900 mm of precipitation per year. In the summer Fauquier which is (4 km away) gets about 12-14 inches of rain from April 1st to September 30th. This is significant compared to the 8" that Kelowna gets in the same time period. Guess they don't call it the interior rain forest for nothing.