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Full Name
Joseph M Hays
Member for
3 weeks 5 days
I am a researcher by birth, not by trade. I have been fascinated by nature my entire life. I am a gardener and avid forager. I enjoy focusing on native plants in my area, specifically edibles. A few years ago I was reading a book and discovered the Paw Paw (Asimina triloba). I finally tracked one down and tasted it. It was that moment when I went from a guy that enjoyed random plants to completely obsessed with natives. I could not believe this tropical tasting fruit was growing naturally in the woods around me my entire life and it took me 30+ years to even read about one. My own grandmother has never tasted one.

I work in the IT industry. It is quite the contrast to my interests and hobbies, but solving problems is solving problems whether it be a networking issue or powdery mildew.

I went to school for education and biology. So I do have some knowledge in the sciences and what I don't know I can normally research. I consider myself a lifetime learner, and there is no better way to learn than from a group of peers.
Mailing Address

223 Woodkirk St
Carnegie, PA 15106-1161
United States

Additional Contact Information
Additional Contact Info will be provided as needed per project.
Educational Background
I studied Secondary Education - Biology. I had to take many biology courses for this including Botany and Ecology. I should have known then to switch to a major in one of those fields but I didn't and I now am one of the many people not working in the field they studied (IT).
Volunteer Background
I have been around gardening my entire life, but the last few years I have really been getting into it. I am obsessed with native plants and try to grow them as much as possible. When its not a native, I like to grow mostly heirlooms and interesting varieties of plants (mostly focusing on edibles). I am an avid outdoorsman and spend my time hiking and foraging invasives and picking up trash. I have widespread interests and a scientific mind.
Favorite Crops & Least Favorite Crops
I typically like to grow interesting varieties of fruits and vegetables I grew up eating as well as native edibles and native non-edibles. I do not like to grow anything that can escape and be a detriment to the local ecology, although I will grow some of these things in containers if I can control them.

I have had issues growing some plants, but that doesn't mean I don't like growing them, it just means I am one step closer to successfully growing them. Off the top of my head, Maypop has given me some germination issues, but I finally have a vine growing. My Scarlet Runners just don't seem to be pollinating, frustrating but I will be hand pollinating them for now. I think the pollinators prefer my Borage and the neighbors hummingbird feeder currently.

Also into permaculture and any plants or techniques that are Native American. I could go on forever so I will end it here.
Growing Experience
Growing food
Starting seeds
Growing perennials
Hand pollination
Time Commitment
5-10 hrs
Growing Location
Space Available
A bed or two (11-40 sq. ft)
Soil Details
Below is listed the soil description from the USDA Web Soil Survey. It is an urban yard, however I have a few raised beds as well as some areas I have transformed into garden areas with basically a lasagna style no dig technique. The growing areas I do have are amended with compost and other spare materials such as peat from left over potting mixes. To my own surprise (as I grew up in more of a country setting) the soil seems to grow most things very well even before the addition of compost etc.

H1 - 0 to 9 inches: silt loam
H2 - 9 to 26 inches: silt loam
H3 - 26 to 40 inches: silt loam
H4 - 40 to 60 inches: sandy clay loam
H5 - 60 to 72 inches: gravelly sandy loam
Growing Location Descriptors
Neighbors' Crops (within 1/4 mile)
Pumpkin, peas, squash, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelon, cabbage, strawberries, I also grow many random plants so just ask if needed.
Neighbors' crops (within 1 mile)
Pumpkin, peas, squash, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, eggplant, cucumbers, watermelon, cabbage, strawberries, I also grow many random plants so just ask if needed.
There are only 3 gardeners in my area that I know of and I probably have the largest and most varied so feel free to ask. I grow pretty much everything from heirlooms and wild collected seed, so very few GMOs around but I cannot be sure of the neighbors varieties. I do have pollination bags I can put on if seed needs to be collected.
Other relevant information
I am rather unsure about the GMO corn and squash although it is a possibility as I have seen both squash and corn grown by neighbors and I am unsure of their variety.

I have seen deer but don't typically have an issue with them. I have lost some seedlings to rabbits. I do not have any fencing but I have put up temporary fencing around seedlings after the rabbits. I typically take it on a case by case basis and cannot put up a full fence around the area.