Do Not Overlook Nuts

| 10/23/2013 12:30:00 PM

Tags: nuts, New York, Lee Reich,


Nuts are underrated as a food and as garden plants. After all, how many gardeners plant nuts? In the landscape, nut plants range from majestic trees to graceful shrubs. As a food, nuts are an excellent source of protein, heart-friendly fats, and all sorts of other nutritional goodies known and unknown. Did you ever see a fat or tired squirrel? (True, we wouldn’t see those couch potato squirrels as they lounged in their den.)

Right now, I am enjoying the fruits of my nutty labors. Some nuts -- most nuts that grow around here, in fact -- need to be cured before they taste their best. Hazelnuts, ready in September, were good as soon as harvested but even better after resting a couple of weeks. Chestnuts, likewise ready in September, were likewise pretty good immediately, but sweetened after a few weeks in storage. The hazelnuts grow on arching shrubs that could instead be trained to small trees. The chestnuts are picturesque, spreading trees. Both hazelnuts and chestnuts are fast-growing and begin to bear within 5 years or less after planting.

10/25/2013 9:04:58 AM

Thanks, Lee! As you know, we have been researching a breeding nut trees here at Willow Crossing Farm in Vermont for the past 13 years, and are growing over 2 dozen species! We're in the middle of writing a book about nut trees for farms and yards, including the incredible mythology and ecology of our favorite nut trees. Check us out at

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