Its Culture, Usefulness, and Productiveness.—Value of the Walnut as a Crop.—Seed per Acre.—Its Nativity.—Traces of its Antiquity and Introduction into Europe.—Recognized Roman Varieties and their Names.—Its Modern Cultivation and Increased Varieties. — The Black Walnut. — Where Found, Attainable Size, and Attendant Features. — The Butternut. — Climate best Suited to its Growth.—General Qualities.—Its Medicinal Properties.—The English Walnut.—Its Cultivation, Distinguishing Properties, and Fruit-fulness.
The walnut is a favorite tree, and very useful. It grows admirably in rocky ground, and thrives best in land with a yellow subsoil. To prepare the land, furrow out as if for corn, and drop the walnuts, one in a hill, four feet apart. Cover hghtly with a hoe or plough. The seed should be planted soon after it falls from the tree, and is best dropped with the hull on. If this cannot be done, bury the seed, but by no means allow it to dry. Seed is also good dropped in February and covered in the spring. The frost cracks the walnut shell, and the sprout Avill start out soon after being covered in April or May. Forty acres of walnut timber will yield the farmer in ten years more than if the land is planted every season in grain. The trees will grow the first year ten or twelve inches, the second thirty, and the third year four to five feet. The first and second year the ground may be planted between the rows with potatoes or corn, and it will not hurt the young trees, walnut striking a deep root and drawing its sustenance from the subsoil. To make the trees bear nuts early, dig under and cut the tap-root. Fruit-trees that do not bear may also be made to do so by cutting their main or tap roots. Mr. Hollenbeck has a grove of forty acres of walnut, planted in 1865, and the trees average twenty-seven inches in circumference and are thirty-five feet high. Many of them bore nuts four years after planting, and six years from planting the trees had a peck of nuts each. Three bushels of nuts with the hulls on will plant an acre four feet apart, or one and three quarter bushels hulled will plant the same amount of land.
The walnut is a native of the mountains of Asia, from the Caucasus almost to China. It is supposed to be the Enoz of the Bible. The Greeks had it from Asia; and Kicander, Theophrastus, and others mention it under the names of Carya basilike (or royal nut). Pliny informs us that it was introduced into Italy from Persia, an introduction which must have been of early date, for, although it be doubtful whether it be aUuded to by Cato, it is certainly mentioned by Varro, who was born in the year 116 b.c The Eomans called it Nux Persica, Nux Hegia, Nux euboca, Jovis glans, Dinglans, Juglans, etc. They recognized several varieties, and among them the soft-shelled walnut is still cultivated, which several of the commentators have confounded with the peach. In modern days the cultivation has been extended, and the number of varieties considerably increased. Jean Bau-hin noticed six only. Micheli, under Cosmo III. of Medici, describes thirty-seven, of which the original specimens are still preserved; some of these, however, are with difficulty distinguished from each other.