Sprouting Chestnuts

Normally, the first part of the year is a very quiet time around the studio.  I’m generally left alone and have a lot of concentrated time to just work on the sculpture of my choosing.  This year, so far, has not been normal.  The reasons have all been rather good, but even good can be disruptive.  I hope to finally get around to updating them all, however belatedly, here in the near future.  But first, I want to share an unmitigated joy…

This year is my first attempt to grow Hybrid Chestnuts, and Hybrid Hazelnuts as well, from seed.  After the success of growing black/white walnuts from seed last year, I decided to expand my trees-from-seeds experiments.  I ordered a variety of nuts from different sources and planted them out in specially constructed nursery beds outside, securely under hardware cloth to protect them from rodents.  But I kept a few to cold stratify in the fridge as well.  After two months, the chestnuts began to sprout.


I planted them into special elongated pots designed specifically for growing trees called Deepots, and placed them under fluorescent lights in our “back hallway nursery.”  After about a week, they began to emerge.


Not much gets me truly excited, but I nearly danced a jig when I saw that first baby tree emerging from the soil!  I’m hoping these grow fast enough to plant out into the field in a couple months.


Now I’m just waiting for the ground outside to heat up enough to see how the others will do.  If all goes well, I’ll have several hundred baby nut trees on my hands.  How exciting is that?!