Glory's Garden

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest post by Dan Shaw

The Wannabe Dirt Farmer

I know you all are wondering what a Chicken Farmer is doing posting on a Gardener’s Blog, right?  Especially a gardener as knowledgeable as Glory is.  She’s also a great writer so that more than doubles the consternation her readers might have. 

Let’s just say I have more experience being a chicken farmer than I do as a dirt farmer and that’s not saying much.  Since I want to be a better farmer I figured if I share my experiences maybe you all could help me overcome my ignorance. 

If there is anything I’ve learned these past couple of years is that root veggies don’t grow in clay soil, no way, no how.   I tried growing potatoes 2 years ago and never got more than a half inch nub on the root that tried to look like a potato.  This summer I tried carrots and the only thing I can say is the root was orange and a couple of them even got to 1-2 inches in length and about a ½ inch wide.  (My hens loved them.)

This past summer we did plant some green beans and they did exceptionally well.  Our tomatoes flowered real well and didn’t start any tomatoes till late in the summer and if you like green tomatoes then I have a ton of them and there is little chance for them to ripen now.  Our squash and cucumber plants gave us a couple of each and our eggplants are finally giving us a few veggies that are about the size of a softball. 

So this summer I learned you got to water the garden once in a while.  Well, I kept thinking it was going to rain any day.  Here in NC we have a standard forecast of 85-95 degrees and a 20 % chance of rain every day.  Well we never got our 20% of the rain.  It always went somewhere else.

OK, here is where I need some help.  There is a tree in the lot next to me that neither I nor my neighbor has been able to identify. 



The tree is about 30-40 feet tall and is just about as wide as it is tall.  As you can see from the picture below the leaves aren’t very big.


In late summer it starts growing nuts almost overnight.  It seems that as soon as they are all grown the tree lets go of them just as fast.  The outer shell has a covering that is almost leathery and green.  It dries and splits open very quickly and as you can see below there is an inner nut that is very thick with little meat inside. 


The squirrels love it.  In fact the squirrels around here disappear in the summer and we don’t see them again till the nuts from this tree start dropping.  (It’s also the same time the acorns start descending in the front yard too.)  The 3-4 squirrels stay all winter till late into the spring and then disappear again. 

Dan Shaw is a guest writer on Wooly Acres and Self Reliance Works as well as a webmaster.

Thank you, Dan, it's what I like to hear...someone willing to do better in the garden. Trial and error are the best teachers, but I'm more than willing to help, too! 

I also like a mystery,  especially one involving a plant. So, let's make this a game.  Can you guess what Dan's tree is? Let us know what you think. I have my guess ready, but I won't say until everyone else puts in their thoughts. Before I forget, Happy Birthday to Dan!             

3 comments:

  1. Dan, I think for your root veggies (potatoes and carrots) you need to make a raised bed filled with compost (all that yummy chicken manure!) and some real soil.

    I don't know for sure what your tree is but it strongly resembles my English Walnut. I bet it is at least related somehow.

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  2. Julie we have been working on a raised garden for a couple of years. Around here it is extremely hard to get top soil in bulk that is not organically dead. So that leaves us with buying top soil from Southern States or Lowes. We did get a load of local top soil and it contained that fungus that attacks plants at the base of their stalks so we had to remove that and start over. Our raised garden is 9 x 24 so that is a lot of dirt...

    Not sure if your answer is right or not about the tree since I have no clue..

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  3. Happy birthday, Dan!

    Y'all know I have no guess on the tree.

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Whacha think?