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.