They’re sprouting!

May 15, 2008

It seems early yet, but some of last fall’s walnut seeds are just raising their heads today after last night’s light rain. The Roundup-cleared spots in the southward-facing field must collect more sunlight than the grassy turf of earlier years. Now if the crows don’t decide they enjoy walnut salad, we may be all right. The black birds are spending a suspicious amount of time on the ground in the five-acre plot, but so far I think they’re just eating bird’s eggs and gorging on earthworms.

One thing I learned for sure during this spring’s transplants: Roundup doesn’t harm earthworms. Every shovelful of earth from the defoliated patches was full of big, healthy crawlers. Maybe they come to the clear spots for the nightlife.

The Queen’s biology students studying robins on the property have complained of widespread egg predation, even to the point that two of their painted plaster eggs had turned up missing. This afternoon when checking for sprouts I found one of the dummy eggs in a hole on top of a walnut. Further examination of other planting sites revealed other eggshells on top of walnuts. It seems the crows like these ready-made egg cups created when I forced walnuts into the soft ground last fall.

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