Grow your own Nuts    

Over the years life has become easy in that all that most of us have to do to obtain food is to go to a shop and buy it. In recent years however, the subject of food miles has become such a familiar idea that many people are becoming ever more concerned about the cost to the environment of producing our food on a large industrial scale. Many of us understand that to produce the food that we need, does to some degree necessitate the employment of methods which only work economically when producing food for a very large number of people.

These concerns which are just one component of a growing concern for the environment and the planet as a whole have driven a renewed interest in the idea of growing your own food. None of this thinking is of course really new at all. It has been possible to rent an ‘allotment’ from many local authorities for many decades; and indeed was originally an idea promoted by those who long ago saw how society was developing with regard to excess drinking of alcohol and decided to carry out what has become known as ‘social engineering’ and provide a solution.

The idea of the ‘allotment’ was to fundamentally give people something to do during their leisure time which would be good for the ‘character’ and also promote good health and exercise. Nowadays the emphasis has shifted again. Those who grow food do so mostly, it has to be said, for the economic benefits. While it is true to say that many of us are aware of the concept of 'food miles', such matters are less tangible than the more immediate effects of savings for our little domestic economies. These are of course entirely reasonable manifestations of what might according to some, be rather selfish motivations. But it has to be said that it does not really matter why you might want to grow your own food, just do it and enjoy all the benefits of exercise, fresh air, healthy food and savings while gaining satisfaction that you are also doing your bit for the environment.

The main difference with the cultivation of nuts is that many of the most popular varieties are grown in warmer climates than that offered by the temperate zone in which Britain finds itself. The keen nut grower will therefore have to face the fact that they will either have to restrict their ambitions or face the potentially great expence of constructing a glasshouse to reproduce the climatic conditions of the species they wish to cultivate. It should also be noted that whatever species of nut selected, the grower in Britain may have to wait some years for their plants to mature sufficiently before they see any edible crop.

Once the species has been selected for the glasshouse the enthusiast will have to be diligent in the maintainance of their choice. It should however be remembered that some species will grow in Britain; the hazel nut, or filbert for example. Remember these are trees and will have to be pruned carefully and regularly to avoid a potentially expensive maintainance liability in broken glass. It may take some years for your chosen species to get to sufficient maturity to produce a crop so patience is certainly a virtue. In the meantime, your tree will serve to ornament your horticultural goals.

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