Walnut Growing


Gather the walnuts during the fall or winter, fall is better, and put them in boxes about the size of ordinary apple boxes, putting in first a layer of sand (the sandy loam along the valley streams is excellent) about four inches deep,

then a layer of walnuts about the same depth, then cover these over with three or four inches more of sand. Place these boxes out in the weather on the ground where the water will not rise in them. The reason for putting the walnuts in boxes instead of beds, as advised by some planters, is that the boxes may be taken to the field or nursery and the nuts lifted carefully from the sand and placed where they are to grow. It sometimes happens in a wet and backward spring that the walnuts will sprout before the ground is ready for planting, in which case they must be handled with the tenderest care and not exposed to the atmosphere any longer than can be helped. One grower had a bed of hybrid black walnuts. The season was late and when the ground was ready for planting many had started to grow. He engaged some boys to grabble out the nuts from the sand beds, urging care, but many of the best were broken and injured. Some of them had sent down a taproot nearly or quite three inches in length. These early ones, under proper conditions, are the most vigorous and surest growers, but in the treatment they received many were injured and killed. Black walnuts are slow to germinate, sometimes laying in the ground two years before sprouting. But if kept properly they will start by June or July. For the nursery the ground should be plowed deep and thoroughly pulverized. Plant the nuts 6 to 12 inches apart in rows about 3 feet apart. Put a handful of the sand from the boxes around each walnut. Our soil will appreciate the sand or silt from the drifts along the valley streams, as it has proven to be one of the best fertilizers known. If anyone doubts this let him try a quantity of it on his kitchen garden. On the Ford place, near the North Yamhill bridge, is one of the finest trees in the county, 33 inches diameter, height 75 feet, spread of branches 60 feet. Bears an abundance of nuts every year. It is 34 years old. The seeds are much used to raise grafting stock. Nearly all of the black walnut seed produced in the Willamette valley will partake more or less of a mixed or hybrid nature, whether from a California black, Japanese black, or American black. The black walnuts are very susceptible to cross pollinization and the English walnut also, for be it known that With wandering bees and the sweet May breeze, That virile tide goes far and wide. The nut should be planted two or three inches deep. A good authority says to place the nut on its side as it would lay after falling from the tree. If the nut is sprouted make a hole in the well pulverized soil and put the root carefully down into it. The best way for planting in the orchard is to bore a hole with a post or well auger 4 or 5 feet deep where the tree is to grow, put in a stick of dynamite and break up the ground thoroughly. Or, better still, bore down to permanent moisture and fill the lower hole with good soil or other root food, then dynamite 4 or 5 feet of the upper section of the hole. Nothing will produce a vigorous and thrifty tree like a deep and vigorous root system, and no tree responds to cultivation and care as does the walnut, white or black. After bursting up the soil, excavate and put in a half bushel of barn or other mould, well rotted. This will force the tree in the earlier years of its life and can be no hindrance to it later. Cover the manure with a foot or two of soil and plant. Both before and after planting the ground should be ploughed and harrowed until it is as mellow as an ash heap. Plant three or four nuts in a hill 6 to 8 inches apart and at the end of the first season's growth pull out all but the most vigorous one. For transplanting from the nursery the same methods should be followed in the preparation of the hole and the soil as in planting the seed nuts. If one wants to lay the foundation for a fine orchard and a fine fortune as a consequence, these preliminary steps must not be neglected. Because in time you expect this tree to pay you a rental of $8 to $12 a month. If you are building a cottage that would bring in that sum, you would put in much more work and money besides. The wise grower would rather have a man plant six trees for him in one day than sixty. The walnut is usually a very vigorous tree and will fight its way among adverse conditions and surroundings, but its golden showers are much more abundant if it is protected from the scars of battle, especially in its youth. It almost seems to respond to the love and affection given to it by a kind master. Animals respond to kindness, and why not the domestic trees? It will pay you a big salary after a while when your other bank accounts and your health and strength fail. A magnificent row of nine American black walnuts, 35 or 40 years old. The tree in the foreground is 20 inches in diameter of trunk. The tallest of the trees is nearly 60 feet and they have a spread of more than 70 feet. They are at the residence of Dave Johnson on the Portland road about 8 miles from McMinnville. Seed from such trees as these would produce the very best trees for grafting upon. There are very few California blacks of pure strain in the country. The hybrids or crosses with the American or eastern black walnut, are better trees for grafting stock than the pure Californias. They are more hardy and better adapted to our climate.

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