Northern Soil Recipes

Northern Soil Recipes

Most communities in the NWT require some amendment to their soil in order to grow productive crops. Remote communities trying to grow food in community and backyard gardens are faced with the problem of having very limited access to good quality soil.

Much of the NWT has soil that is permanently frozen or soil that is particularly thin and low in essential nutrients, or both.

There is also a great need for large quantities of soil in remote communities because most NWT communities now have some type of community garden or greenhouse.

The Northern Soil Recipes project is a effort to find an alternative to importing soil into the NWT. Importing large quantities of soil for gardening is an expensive and inefficient solution. Building on the existing soil in a way that promotes soil fertility and soil life can allow us to grow good food and reduce dependencies on outside resources. Some communities have even started creating soil in larger batches to share within the community. We want to encourage this, and to work toward finding easy, sustainable alternatives to importing soil into our gardens.

The Building Your Soil guide contains lots of background information to help you build your own soil and grow your own food in the NWT.

The Soil Recipes booklet contains specific instructions for putting together healthy garden soil using local materials no matter where you are in the NWT. There are four recipes and each loosely corresponds to a different region. You can follow the recipe strictly or you can get creative and just use the recipes as a guide for you own soil incorporating the materials that are easily available to you!

Soil Recipes:

  • Boreal Gardener: North Slave and Sautu,
  • Great Slave Gardener: North Slave and South Slave,
  • Dehcho Gardener: Dehcho
  • Tundra Gardener: Inuvik

Take a look at the information in these two documents and if you try it out let us know how it goes! Feel free to contact us or drop by with any questions you may have. We are happy to help you get started in building your own soil!

Here is a version of the Soil Recipes Cards that can be printed at home.

*This project was funded by The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of the Northwest Territories.