Beau October 6th, 2008
Have you ever picked up walnuts off the ground? Real walnuts that have just fallen from a tree? We’ve got several of these trees around the property and with all the moisture this year there are tons and tons of the nuts all over the ground. Last week they were all on the tree still, but all of a sudden they started dropping everywhere. Here’s one of the trees with a few still clinging to the branches. I kept trying to catch one… doesn’t work. I found out if you stare at them they don’t drop off the tree. But the minute you turn your back, “Thump!” one hits the ground.
In the past I’ve just let them lie on the ground for the squirrels and other animals to eat. But the squirrels must have plenty of other forage because they’re not that interested this year. And with so many on the ground it’s difficult to cut the grass as they can really be hard on lawnmower blades. So we’ve been picking up many of them… this small trash can is only half the crop from one of the trees. I had a contest with the boy for who could find more of them… and darn it all, he beat me. And the yellow lab has to help too, running around grabbing them and bringing them to us, all slobbery of course.
The nuts have this heavy but soft outer husk that peels off, and then the hard shell inside encasing the walnut meat itself. One thing I’ve read is not to save the outer husks or compost them. Walnut trees have a chemical compound called “juglone” that the tree gives off and it inhibits growth of other plants nearby. The husks of the nuts also contain juglone, so composting them would not be helpful to the garden next year!
Once cracked open, the walnut meat tastes pretty good. But I’m not sure I have the patience to really shell them all. Maybe save them for those cold winter days coming up. One of these days we’ll plant a pecan or chestnut tree also, but I better start soon since it probably takes quite a few years to produce a large harvest. We’ll see, but for now it’s time to get outside and put up a little more firewood. Have a great day.