Paul Lutz

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since Sep 24, 2016
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Recent posts by Paul Lutz

It looks like you live nearby so you might have similar soil. I am near Broadheadsville PA. Generally what I see is that the water only infiltrates a short distance and then follows the clay layer. Where I have dug into the clay layer I generally end up with a place that is permanently muddy. An instant pre-sealed pond. The other thing I notice is that when it rains heavily, the water surfaces where the clay is close to the surface.
With this in mind, in your position I would put in a perforated drain pipe along the clay layer maybe two feet from the house and sloped to drain into the Swale. I would then make sure the overflow is below the drain pipe. I suspect that your Swale will be a pond for extended periods, so it might not work well as a path. Have you considered designing the Swale as an intentional pond?

Another general comment: it looks like your yard has a lot of shade on the south side as compared to the north, so you can get a nice variety of plants out of a small space.
1 month ago
Stroudsburg/Poconos in eastern PA. Elevation from 800ft at the south end of the property to 960ft at the north. My soil is 50% rock give or take a bit.
Peach varieties all grow like weeds, but between late frost and various insects and other things, I rarely get any fruit. Apples do okay, but cedar apple rust blowing in from the adjacent property is a problem every year. I will be planting at another location on the property this year. Cherry has been disappointing so far, but the trees are still small, so the jury is still out. Persimmon are reliable and most years have a nice crop. Asian Pears are the run away winner every year. Zero issues and huge yields. Plums are only good for trapping the Japanese beetles away from the raspberry and peaches. I have a thriving nannyberry tree that usually holds it's fruit into mid Winter. Pin cherry trees are self seeding everywhere and have delicious tiny fruit. I would rank it as a novelty snack due to how long it takes to get a decent harvest. Black walnut and shagbark hickory do well most years
Muscadine grapes are native and do very well. Raspberry and blackberry do well.
1 month ago
Asian Pears. (Eastern Pennsylvania) zero issues every year even when I lose everything else (apples, peaches, plums, appricot, cherry, other pears). Japanese beetles don't touch them.
Persimmon is my next in line but smaller yields of smaller fruit (and I lost the entire crop last year).
1 month ago
I wasn't aware this weed caused problems... It grows in my yard (6b in PA) but only in gaps between the rocks in my rock walls. The only natural predator I have noticed is myself and my kids. When they get big enough to bother with we rip them out and eat the top half.

It sounds like manual labor is doomed to fail. Move on to chemical warfare. No, not poisoning the stuff.... What you want is a tailored repellent. Many thingsgs (like poison ivy) won't grow in one or more specific soil profiles. Maybe change the pH a good bit one direction in a small area and change it the other way in another area. Add an irrigation system to a third area and so on. Change your soul to a fungal foundation elsewhere. Nothing grows well everywhere. Make a list of what you can change in your soil. Then change it. Take careful notes. If you find something that the weed hates, fine tune variations of that. When you get something the weeds can't be competitive in, find the vegetables that can be competitive, and run with it.
3 months ago
Tons of good advice on  this thread so far. I don't recall seeing a mention of Plants for a Future. pfaf.org I think. To the best of my knowledge, that is the best searchable database of plants out there. Want to find an edible fiber producing nitrogen fixing dye plant in your climate that does well in partial sun and heavy clay? You can do a search for that (tho I suspect you won't find anything with that exact set of properties, but you get the idea).

So, on a whim I decided to do that exact search. Apparently I need to plant some buffalo berry and it appears that I am under utilizing my bayberry. Missing the fiber, but bonus medicinal and craft uses and hedge functionality makes up for that in my mind.
3 months ago
For what it's worth: Here in eastern PA it is super invasive and grows well in well drained rocky soil from full sun to heavy shade. Supposedly there is a limes disease connection due to the plants providing habitat for white footed mice. The leaves are tasty in small amounts. I haven't tried using them for anything other than nibbling on. I don't like the berries, and I am far from picky.

I might use the plant for its vividly yellow wood in crafts.
10 months ago
Oh the irony... I just applied to a job in Richardson TX (haven't heard back yet) and have been trying to find something that might work for me with marginal success so far. My better half wants a neighborhood, I want a forest, and the kids (6 under 13) want to swim. The closest few i have found so far are in the 300k range for a house the wife will accept and 1-5 acres that I can accept. This is a far cry from my 23 acres in eastern PA. If I get and accept a job offer, I will get in touch.
1 year ago
Update? Pictures and future plans?
1 year ago
I suspect the bulk of future energy production will be modular molten metal cooled thorium reactors, and the energy question becomes almost irrelevant if that is true. A large part of the conversation up to this point is an energy based numbers game and it could tip either way easily.

I think these structures will be part of our future, so the question we might need to be asking is "How do we build a better trap hive?" The obstacle is probably people's reluctance to change more than energy .
1 year ago