Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > October 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Got Enough Acorns?

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Got Enough Acorns?

So what’s with the “clunk, clunk, clunk” of acorns hitting the deck (and my head) this year?  Or the crunch of them underfoot as I take out the trash?

When an oak procures an over-abundance of acorns, it is called a “mast” year.  “Mast” is the fruit of forest trees—more specifically the edible part of a nut, etc. that wildlife would eat—acorns, hickory nuts, even true berries and rose hips are all “mast.”  It used to be common for farmers to let the hogs loose in the woods this time of year to fatten up on acorns and other nuts that hit the ground.

Old Wives’ tales suggest that a bumper crop of nuts, etc. is an indicator of a bad winter.  Meteorologists say it’s not.  It’s a combination of several things.  One:  Ideal growing conditions in the spring (or last spring—since it can take red oaks two years to produce acorns), when trees are setting fruit.  Two:  there is a lot of evidence to suggest that trees do this periodically as a way of insuring a good crop of seedlings. 

By producing so many acorns at one time, even the squirrels/mice/birds/chipmunks can’t eat them all, they insure that acorns remain to start new oaks—as evidenced when you’ll get to pull the little oak seedlings out of your lawn/flower pots/garden beds.  Considering a mature oak can produce up to 10,000 acorns—that’s a LOT of seedlings…even if you count the acorns you shoveled up.

So what to do with a bumper crop of acorns?  There are actually recipes online on how to dry, roast, and grind acorns into a kind of acorn coffee.  Um, I don’t know about that…I do know that I tend to gather some pretty fat shiny acorns and put in a pottery dish on the hearth.  Mother Nature’s fall d├ęcor.

You can even save them to feed the birds later.  To do this, gather acorns and allow them to dry for a couple of weeks, then toss into a study plastic bag and whack with a hammer a few times to break them up.  Poke several air holes in the bag and store in a cool dry place.  Toss out a handful or two periodically over the winter.
 
 
 
Posted: 10/31/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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