Last night on River Cottage Hugh F-W made an amazing looking sweet pastry walnut caramel pie - I've never wanted to make something so bad! We have gazillions of walnuts here from our 3 walnut trees so I am always trying to use them up - I make walnut bread often, always put chopped walnuts in crumble toppings and put them in a lot of cakes too.
They say a walnut tree takes 10 years to start to produce. I didn't plant mine, they were already there and the year we bought this house was the first year the biggest tree had produced - a couple of nuts. Over the next few years it went from about 2 nuts to 15, then 50 to..... about 1,000 - yes, really, that big a jump! By this time the smaller trees were starting to produce too.
I can't believe I actually advertised these two smaller trees on Anglo Info 6 years ago to anyone with a trailer or transit van who would like to come and dig them up! You'd need a digger and a huge truck now! It's just amazing how quickly they grow and the diameter of the trunk grows as rapidly as the height of the tree. The reason for wanting to get rid of the smaller trees was (sigh) because they had been planted too close to the bigger tree in the middle. Thankfully it's turned out fine with a bit of pruning although they do rather grow into each other a bit, and one isn't the prettiest of shapes.
I'm so glad I kept the two smaller trees as they produce a larger nut - can't taste any difference but they are easier to find and pick up, and look, well, prettier!
Here's how they look now, nearly 6 years later - the two smaller trees on either side of the big one.
This is just a very small amount of the nuts I have collected this year - and yes I really, really had to stop myself from counting every single nut collected, which I have been doing until last year (1,859). Yes I'm a saddo!
And this little chap/chappess (in fact there may be two of them) who live in my garden help to 'propagate' by burying their nuts EVERYWHERE in my flower beds and veg patch and lawn - come spring I am weeding out walnut trees galore as he/she never seems to be able to find their buried nuts - but I can't be cross - how can anyone not love red squirrels!