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Crazy about nuts

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  • Sat, Sep 22, 2012 - 09:04pm


    Wendy S. Delmater

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2009

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    Crazy about nuts

Let's go a little nuts here.

When you're planning your food resilliency and garden, you need to think about producing fats and oils, and protien. Beans may provide protien, but they are annuals (need planted every year). Nut trees, on the other hand, produce with very little effort for a long, long time.

What kind of nut is right for your growing space and climate?  You may live in the American South, like me, and opt for pecans, or live where walnuts reign. Chestnuts may appeal to you, or almonds or hickory nuts. Be aware that most tree nut saplings take around 7 years to start producing, but if you have the space they are well worth it. There is even an apricot that has been bred for an edible almond substitute nut inside its pit. If you have limited space, that's a two-fer.

You may have less room and choose the American Hazelnut.

Also known as filberts, these are those round nuts in a can of mixed nuts. Hazelnuts grow in USDA Zones 4-9 and only take 2-3 years to start producing. They grow 10-ft tall and 10-ft wide. I love the fact that when the nuts are ripe they fall, and you just rake them off the ground. We planted four as a screening hedge between our front and back yard.

Last but not least, lets talk about non-tree nuts: peanuts and sunflower seeds. For peanuts you want to be in at least USDA Zone 5b or higher as they need a very long growing season, 120-150 days (although I suppose you could start them indoors.) And you don't need to buy seeds from a catalog: just use raw, unroasted peanuts. We planted ours as a flower border along the front fence. I'm harvesting them now, and they have to be one of the lowest maintenence crops I have ever grown.

A mammoth sunflower seed head, with pounds of nuts.

When you buy sunflower seeds to grow nuts, make sure they are "confectioner" sunflower seeds. Those are the big ones. I'm trying these next year in the front yard. No neighbor is going to complain that I am growing veggies instead of ornamentals.

Oh, and peanuts and sunflower seeds can be used to press oil. This article talks about pressing oil for biofuels, but the oil could also be used for cooking.

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