Saturday, August 13, 2011

My First Nut "Crop"!

Four summers ago I planted a variety of fruiting bushes... and one nut bush, which was ordered as an Allegheny Chinquapin. It was a foot-long bare-root stick when it arrived, and this year it seems to be producing about a dozen nuts... which greatly pleases me, but they are NOT chinquapins!

In working towards sustainability, I wanted some small nut bushes to provide a source of minerals (including calcium), protein, carbohydrates, vitamins B1, B2, B3, amino acids, and some excellent unmodified fuel (fats). Almonds perhaps might have been my first choice, but they will not grow here.

Most people think of chinquapins either as the towering oak Quercus muhlenbergii whose leaves resemble those of the chinquapin, or the small Georgiana chinquapin (Castanea alnifolia), which is more of a creeping 4-foot tall shrub that grows in zones 8 to 10, but we seldom think of a medium-size nut bush like my "woulda-been" Allegheny chinquapin (Castanea pumila), which is basically a shrub or dwarf tree growing 12 to 15 feet tall in zones 3 to 9, and is a diminutive cousin of the American chestnut (Castanea dentata).

About MY nut bush
After carefully examining the shape of the nuts at this stage, my bush is a definitely a filbert. Of course, I have no idea which filbert it might be, since it's merely what Forest Farm sent me as the chinquapin I ordered 4 years ago. The shipping list and the invoice both indicate a chinquapin... but clearly it is not, although the leaves are somewhat similar.

I'm not totally disappointed as I also like filberts. However, it's the not knowing what I really have, how tall it will get, yada, yada...

Hard to see the nuts, but they ARE there

My next big project will be to build a Nut Guild around this bush and hope I can guess close to the mature size. Meanwhile I need to research what needs to be planted in a nut guild. I may even try to plant some of the mature nuts (assuming they mature!) this year to see if I can grow another nut tree.


  1. hehe... love it when what ya get isnt what ya ordered.. i have had some strange stuff grow through the years because of it... it is how my original ground cherries made it here... they were in with some of my other seed i had ordered.

  2. Thanks, dilli... I actually love surprises that turn out well!

    BTW, I don't know anything about "ground cherries". Do you have a post about them?

  3. Ha--I knew your picture right away--I found a hazlenut tree on our property a week ago. Now I have to learn how to harvest and dry them, along with the walnuts we have.
    Now, if I can convince my family to get the goats I'm hoping for, Nubians or Alpines. And a farmer told me yesterday the milk is best best to drink in the first 24 hrs. After that it's best for cheese, as the grassy flavor comes on. I'm looking forward to your favorite technique/recipe!!
    On the same journey,

  4. Yeah, I have to learn when to harvest and how to dry them too.

    I'm still mulling over Nubians for their higher butterfat content, and LaManchas for their ease in handling and hardiness. Good tip about when best to drink the milk vs making cheese. Thanks!


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