Pecan Picking

Over the holidays we went to the West Tennessee town of Trenton to visit my wife's grandmother. Her home rests in the middle of several acres of rich Tennessee farmland where they typically grow either soybeans, corn, or winter wheat depending upon the whim of the farmer. The crop is most likely determined through a system of crop rotation. Soybeans are a legume and are great at returning nitrogen to the soil while corn needs quite a bit of nitrogen to grow. The soybeans replenish the depleted nitrogen making the soil suitable for growing the corn.

While we were there we were told of the old pecan trees that produced the best crop of pecans in years. There are about 6 of these 75+ year old pecan trees in the area, most of which were at my wife's uncle's house. He offered to let us go over and pick as many pecans as we wanted. With pecans being as yummy as they are we were more than happy to accept.

According to my father-in-law and his brother these trees were large when they were young. They could remember climbing into the trees and shaking the limbs to entice the ripe pecans to fall to the ground.

My father-in-law and I went over twice with plastic bags and 5 gallon buckets and never, I repeat never, made a dent in thousands of pecans resting on the ground. There were just too many ripe pecans to pick, not a bad problem to have!

Three of these pecans should be good to eat, do you know which ones? The upper right pecan never left its shell which means that it probably isn't suitable to eat. When the pecans are ripe on the pecan tree the shells open and release the ripened nut to fall to the ground. When the shell stays on it was either knocked off too early by the wind before the nut was fully ripened or has some other issue. Sometimes nuts have issues. Often the shells will be partly open in which case these pecans tend to be good nuts.

In the picture to the right you can see that there are still some pecans on the tree. Once they are fully ripened they will fall to the ground making perfect pecans for pickin'.

According to my wife's uncle West Tennessee had a dry spring which is very good for pecans. Wet springs tend to wash the pollen away before pollination occurs and consequently the pecan harvest is greatly diminished. Sometimes dry weather can be a blessing, at least where nuts are concerned!

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Seed Sunday! Feel free to join in talking about your "seedy" experiences every Sunday!