FAQ

From BuildSoil Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Chestnuts

Why do you recommend planting chestnuts?

Please take a look at Why Chestnuts?

What species of chestnuts are there?

Chestnuts are in the genus Castanea and in the Beech/Oak family.

  • American chestnut - Castanea dentata
  • American chinkapin/Dwarf Chestnut - Castanea pumila
  • European chestnut - Castanea sativa
  • Chinese chestnut - Castanea mollissima
  • Chinese chinkapin - Castanea henryi
  • Seguin’s chestnut - Castanea seguinii
  • Korean chestnut - Castanea crenata

Please consult our Varieties & Species list.

What kind of chestnuts do you recommend planting?

A mix. Restoration is a good value, but honestly, we're more interested in getting Beech-family food production out in the world in order to replace our dependence on grain agriculture. Most northern-hemisphere ecosystems have included beech-family systems: from the Oak-Savanna of the west coast, to the dense chestnut forests of New England, to the European civilizations that grow out of chestnut agriculture. If you live in the places where the American Chestnut lived and the climate is still the same after climate change, go for it.

We're growing mixes of European, American, Chinese chestnuts to ensure a wide genetic diversity and a grex of organisms that can adapt to a lot of locations. They aren't that far apart in evolutionary terms.

The American chestnut is very vulnerable to blight and there are not many left.

What are your top three cultivars?

We're still learning. For our personal planting this year, we're using mostly Belle Epine. But we're hoping to breed out of cultivars, because the notion of a cultivar is pretty problematic.

Are you selling chestnuts? Can you bring chestnuts to me and plant them?

We aren't selling chestnuts, and we probably can't come help you plant nuts. We are not a chestnut supplier. Our goal for this project is to help groups around the country and internationally organize to acquire and plant their own nuts. We are here to help with this process as much as we can, but acquiring and planting nuts will be up to you and your community.

Where can I get chestnuts?

Here is a list we’ve compiled of chestnut sources. No guarantee they are still open/good quality/haven't sold out for the season.

You can also harvest them yourself!

Where will you plant your chestnuts?

Our plan is to establish easily-accessible chestnut nurseries within/near cities: everywhere from backyards to parking strips to church properties to schools to parks to municipal buildings. Over the next year we will be looking for places to plant that are publicly available.

Because of the pandemic, we are relying mostly on people willing to do small 4 x 4 planting beds until trees are ready to be placed in the locations listed above. One of these beds can accommodate 20 chestnuts for a year.

Our hope is that these final planting locations will be catalogued and tended, and that many will be incorporated into Food Cooperative efforts.

How do you take care of chestnuts?

Please see our planting guide.

Will chestnuts grow in in my location?

We've selected chestnuts for this project in part because they can grow in many places, but they may or may not be feasible for your location. You may need to do some research to find out.

This map shows the distribution of chestnut suppliers in the United States. If there are suppliers near your location, chestnuts can likely grow there.


Are the chestnuts you're planting vulnerable to blight?

Disease is always a risk (things happen) but many species of chestnut are not having major problems with the blight. American Chestnuts are vulnerable to blight, but all other chestnut varieties are blight-resistant.

Would you coppice or pollard chestnuts?

If you are growing standards, coppice. If you need to shade veggies or hide them from goats, pollard.

Other Questions

How do I create/maintain a compost pile?

Written version coming soon - in the meantime, look here for instructions and advice

What is your azolla for?

Azolla can be used as fertilizer, as animal feed, and for building soil. It’s so high in nitrogen that it can mixed with just wood chips to make amazing compost.

Azolla grows rapidly, doubling every few days. This combined with its ability to store carbon makes it an extremely useful plant for carbon sequestration.

Azolla1.jpg Azolla2.jpg

The photo on the left is a pond on the day azolla was added to it; the photo on the right is twenty days later.

Where can I get azolla and how do I take care of it?

Try eBay. And let us know if you find a viable source.

Once you've found some, put a handful of dirt in a bucket. Fill the rest of the bucket with water, then add the azolla. Put your bucket in full sun or partial shade (we've noticed better results when buckets get a few hours of direct sun a day and spend the rest of the time in shade). It's a good idea to add a bit more water every few days. The azolla should quickly begin to grow.

When it covers the surface of the water and begins to thicken, move half to a new bucket and repeat the process.