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Joel Andrews

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since Jan 16, 2014
Philadelphia, PA
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Recent posts by Joel Andrews

FWIW, I grew Windsors for the first time this year in my hugelkultur bed, and when the black aphids showed up I sprayed the plants with a fresh batch of actively aerated compost tea. The aphids were completely gone the next day. Not sure if the tea had something in it that the aphids didn't like, or if it helped beef up the plants' immune system enough to repel them on their own. Whatever the case, they look very happy and robust at the moment.
5 years ago
I have four decent-sized clumps of pampas grass on my small suburban lot outside Philadelphia. I've been cutting it with a serrated Japanese rice knife and using it as mulch and a good nitrogen source in my compost pile. When I compost it I lay it out to dry for a while, then I run over it with the lawnmower to shred it up. Otherwise those thick stalks will take forever to break down. I'm surprised I haven't heard more about its use in permaculture circles.

Some things I'd like to find out:
- It grows really fast and really tall. How often can you cut/harvest it without weakening the plant?
- How deep do the roots grow?
- How is it as a dynamic nutrient accumulator?
6 years ago
Anyone live in or around Philadelphia or Montco PA? I'm in Huntingdon Valley and would love to connect with others nearby.
6 years ago
Hi all,

I'm a newbie to permaculture and this is my first post on the forums here. I thought I'd start off with a broad random question about snow and its affects, and see what kind of insights you all might have.
I live in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia, PA. Like most of the U.S., we've been having a pretty crazy winter this year. We keep getting hit by one storm after another, along with record low temps for the Mid-Atlantic region. I know there's plenty of people who experience a lot more snow than this every year, but looking at all the piles of snow accumulating in my yard has made me start to wonder about the effects of snow on the soil.
For instance, you can accumulate a really large amount of water (in the form of snow) on top of the ground, and as long as it doesn't melt too rapidly, it seems like it would do a really good job of rehydrating the soil, since I would think it's just slowly trickling down into the soil as it melts. Then again, maybe this doesn't happen if the ground is frozen hard, since the snow melt will encounter some sort of icy barrier when it hits moister soil.

I've currently got huge piles of snow that I have piled up on either side of my driveway and sidewalk, and I'm wondering if there's some way to make good use of this stored clean water before it all just melts and runs down the street. Got any good ideas?

Another thing I'm curious about is the nutrient affects of snow. I've heard that snow captures nitrogen when it forms and can deposit it in the soil, but does anyone know if this is true or how much nitrogen it contributes? I'm also wondering if snow might have some affect on the pH of the soil.

Please feel free to share any bits of useful info you might have with regard to snow and its relationship to soil.

6 years ago
Great discussion, but please, eating and podcasts do not mix. I felt like I was listening from inside Paul's mouth.