Saturday 16 November 2019

Walnut Trees

What to do with Walnuts

We have two walnut trees at the top of our garden. When we arrived in 2006 they were fairly modest, quite dainty trees. Now they are very large.

They don't come into leaf until June and have shed all by mid October so they must have pretty efficient constitutions.

We have had a few nuts in previous years but this year they have gone crazy. I've picked up off the floor 3 buckets-full and could probably find more in the long grass and under the raspberries. We were told by the previous owners of Froggarts Cottage that they aren't English walnuts, I think she said Italian. The leaves are thinner than English walnuts and the nuts inside the hulls are ridged lengthwise rather than rippled and smooth as the English nuts are.

Thought I better do a bit of research to find out what I can do with all these nuts. Turns out they are likely to be American Eastern Black walnuts."junglans nigra".  They have smaller kernels which are tricky to get out, which is what we've found with ours.

Earlier in the year when the first nuts formed I tried pickling some but haven't yet tried eating them. For pickling walnuts need to be under-ripe with the inside shell still soft. Problem is the nuts grow high up so if this appears to be a good use we'll have to use the tall ladders to reach them.

Once they have fallen from the tree Googling suggests bashing the green hulls with a wooden mallet and peeling off by hand. Will need to wear gloves because they stain fingers black.

Friday 22 February 2019


The warm weather continues - 15deg C and sunny today. The nights are cold and a big, bright moon - but no frost thankfully.

Its tempting to start sowing, but we've been caught like that before! However, broad beans are frost resistant and its good to get them going early. Sowed 8 pots of 6 beans in each. They should be fine  in the unheated greenhouse. These are seeds saved from last year's harvest - masterpiece green longpod.

The peas I sowed a couple of weeks ago have just started shooting also the Navarro lettuce and the Bedford onions in trays in the conservatory.

Friday 15 February 2019

Start of the year

We've had unseasonably warm weather for a week or so and its due to continue for a few more days. Mind you, along with balmy sunny days we've had some early morning frosts. The rhubarb that was beginning to shoot nicely has got zapped a bit. but it will recover.

The snowdrops are a joy - bringing elegant brightness to the borders and all over the lawn.

Trying to get an early start with potatoes in the last few days of December I planted up 2 large pots of Pentland Javelins, saved from last year's harvest, and have them in the conservatory. It's too cold up in the unheated greenhouse. They have just started to show some green shoots. Last weekend I potted up some shop-bought Maris Pipers that had gone a bit green and were displaying some impressive shoots. They were not fit to eat but may make some nice new potatoes around May before the outdoors ones are ready.

I've also sowed onions and lettuces in trays in the conservatory.  The lettuces over-wintered in the greenhouse have pretty much finished.

So the seasons move on. This will be our 14th summer at Froggarts Cottage.