Planting on a Drumlin

October 31, 2007

The new walnut field lies on the southern slope of the drumlin known locally as Young’s Hill. The rows run thirty-five stations down the hill, or 680 feet from first to last. So far I have marked sixteen of these rows and have planted all but the two closest to the woodlot.

I find an interesting variety in soil textures as I plant my way down the slope. The top has the usual sandy loam, relatively soft after a few recent rains, but prone to lumpiness from a high proportion of stone to soil. The bottom third of each row has clay which seems to suck the implements and the seeds down into it. A band about sixty feet wide in the middle of the slope seems very hard. Grass grows less readily on this band than on the till above and the clay below, though it still produces a decent crop. But the soil hasn’t loosened after the rains in the manner of the other two types. It seems closely-grained and largely stone-free, but it is very hard to poke a hole for a walnut, and even more difficult to force the nut down a bit further with the planting stick.

On this countour line sixty feet west the best walnuts on the property begin and continue along this part of the slope all the way to the end of the drumlin. I’ll be very interested to see how the new seeds make out in comparison to those planted in the same rows above and below.

Yesterday I spotted the new rodent control system at the farm. He stood in the middle of a field and watched me drive up to the house. When I stopped he bounded away like a coyote, even turning at the fence to look back, but I think this guy’s part German shepherd. I saw him up close along the road the other day and his tail shows a hint of curl up at the end. He has grown a great deal since the week before the plowing match when he seemed to be underfoot most of the time. Scat around the field shows that he’s eating a lot of squirrels and mice, so I just hope he can find enough food over the winter for that huge frame. He should be a valuable asset to a walnut farm for many years to come if he can survive.

BTW: Apparently my email address is hard to find. Please send comments to rodcros at webruler dot com. Feedback is welcome.

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