Modular Air Prune Beds #0: Growing Bulk Hazelnuts from Seeds, Gathering and Short-Term Storage

I’m thankful for a good local community of agroforestry peoples, humans and trees.

A group of us gathered hazelnuts from a planting at the local university’s organic student farm. These decade-old bushes have ancestry from Badgersett Farm and Mark Shepard and are American x European hybrids, more American than European, rugged and highly productive.

Onion sacks full of fresh picked hazelnuts! I harvested two bags full, gave half to a friend and mentor who runs a permaculture tree nursery, then biked to classes with the bounty.

I brought some with me to school for folks to try. In the nut grove, soil lab, and agroecology course, we tasted the firm and slight bitterness of the unripe green ones, along with the soft and sweet ripe brown and dry-husked ones.

With the hazelnuts home I made space for them to rest in trays on shelves and a drying rack, with fans nearby to maintain airflow since they are so moist. I don’t want to dry the nuts out, and the direct fan might be too
direct, but it’s important to avoid mold afflicting the batch.

Next step will be building more air prune beds, to grow out these hazelnuts while I’m in rented housing. In around a year, next spring or fall if they germinate well, I’ll transplant them bare root hopefully to an agroforestry farm. I learned from Akiva Silver of Twisted Tree Farm that hazelnuts sometimes take 2 years to germinate, referred to as double dormancy or secondary dormancy. Thankfully modular air prune beds will allow me to keep these babes by my side until whenever they’re ready to be planted out.

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  1. […] harvesting many hazelnuts, I set out to build portable-sized, modular air prune beds to propagate trees. I followed […]

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