Friday, March 13, 2015

dirt digging

Well, I've planted all but one of the items we ordered a LONG time ago from a nursery. They divided the order into three boxes. The first one to arrive, a kiwi VINE (silly me thought it would be a shrub/tree) is still sitting on the kitchen table. The other two boxes arrived this morning and all are now in the ground and watered. And I am EXHAUSTED. (Healthy eating doesn't help a whole lot when you're drastically out of shape.)

While I was planting the English walnut trees, I saw this word I didn't remember seeing when I ordered: grafted. And that gave me pause. Several years ago we purchased an English walnut that died back the first year but then came back. I rejoiced. And then this year it produced its first fruit...three pods of BLACK (not English walnuts). Evidently the tree was grafted into a Black walnut root. Sometimes that happens. Whatever the root of a graft is, if the graft dies for any reason, the plant that grows next will be whatever the original root was. So I'm hoping against hope that these two trees will NOT die and we WILL have English walnuts instead of black walnuts. In case you're wondering what the differences are, this might help:

Black walnuts fall off the tree with shell intact. Sometime the shell/hull must be broken off with the hammer.
(I actually ran over some with my car when we were given two bushels.)

And here is what you get when the shell/hull is removed. These must be broken open with a tight vise or hammer (see the first picture for what one completely open looks like). Black walnuts have a slightly bitter taste.
English walnuts are smaller and are supposed to peel open (like pecans do) on the tree when ripe. Inside you'll see this:

The nut itself.  I think these nuts are great in brownies and cakes (though pecans work okay, too).
Anytime I plant a fruit or nut tree, I think of my father-in-law. Unless a tree produced something to eat, he didn't see much a point in growing it. When all of his children got houses of their own, he planted (without asking) either pecan trees or fig trees in their yard. We still laugh about the day I came home from work and was headed down to the pond to feed the geese and walked straight into a stick. It wasn't there the day before! I stopped, looked around, and saw 6 bare sticks, about 6' tall, planted in a semi-circle around our backyard. Later that fall when we planted a maple and oak (and unbeknownst to me, a sweet gum...grrr!), he asked me if I was trying to audition for Better Homes and Garden or something. That still makes me laugh. When we planted two apples and a pear tree the next year, he nodded in approval. I will say that once we get a fig tree planted, I think our yard will be full. 

Well, and a trellis for the kiwi vine. Still not sure how I missed that!


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