Water Chestnut Facts – Can You Grow Water Chestnuts In Gardens?
How To Grow Water Chestnuts In A Garden:
The first thing you need to know is that water chestnuts are not native to North America. They were introduced from Europe in the 17th century.
The water chestnut tree was originally found in South Africa and other parts of Asia. After it was brought back to North America, they were planted in gardens. However, the trees are not very hardy plants. Because of their short life span (about 25 years), most gardeners have decided to cut down the old growth trees so that new ones will grow instead. The old growth trees are usually no longer available anymore since they’re either dead or have been chopped down for firewood.
In addition, there are many different varieties of water chestnuts. Some of them are the American Water Chestnut, Blackwater Chestnut, Golden Water Chestnut, Redwater Chestnut and White Water Chestnut.
There are also some varieties that are difficult to distinguish from each other. For example, the Blue Water Chestnut looks like a regular water chestnut but its seeds contain cyanide which causes death within 24 hours after eating one seed.
Below we will focus on growing the American Water Chestnut.
The American Water Chestnut is a perennial plant that has five leaflets and a spade-like shape at the base of the leaf. The first year plants can grow up to 10 inches in height.
By the second year, the plant can grow up to 3 feet tall or longer. In addition, the stems and petioles are red. The flowers are white and have a light fragrance. In fact, they are so fragrant that they can be smelled from up to 50 feet away.
Gardeners can grow water chestnuts in aquaponic systems or by using normal soil. The soil needs to be fertile and loose.
It needs to have a PH level between 5 and 7.5. You’ll need to prepare the soil before planting your chestnut tree since it cannot be planted in the winter or early spring. Instead, plant your tree in the spring before the soil temperature reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
The American Water Chestnut can be planted anywhere there is sufficient sunlight. If you want to grow a large forest, then you’ll need at least 5 acres of land to do so.
On the other hand, you can also grow it in containers as long as you have enough space (at least 12 gallons of soil for each plant).
You can also grow the chestnut tree with aquaponics. To do this, you’ll need to flood the roots of the plant every spring.
However, you’ll need to make sure that the water doesn’t go too high since the plant can only survive in certain levels of water. If you’re growing it with aquaponics, then you can expect your chestnut trees to be ready for harvest in 3 years time. On average, each plant will produce around 30 chestnuts every year.
After your tree is fully grown, you can start to harvest the nuts after 3 to 4 months. You’ll need to shake the tree while wearing protective gloves.
Afterwards, remove the nuts from their burrs and rinse them off. Then, let them dry in the sun or use a food dehydrator. After they’ve dried, you can store them in containers or jars. If you want to eat them, just boil them for 15 to 20 minutes before you do so. If you’re going to eat the nuts right away, then you don’t need to peel them first. Otherwise, you should remove their green outer layer first. You can also use the shells to make tea.
Overall, the American Water Chestnut is an excellent survival tree to grow because of how easy it is to harvest and how many uses it has. It can be used as food during an emergency and can also be used as livestock feed.
You can also use its stalks to make crafts or furniture. For these reasons, it’s a worthwhile tree to grow even if you have limited space.
You can purchase American Water Chestnut Trees online here.
You can also learn how to make an aquaponic system of your own here.
The site you got the tree from indicates that it is best grown on riverbanks and lakeshores.
Is this true? How would one go about replicating these conditions in non-bank areas?
Yes, chestnut trees prefer moist soil. They grow along riverbanks and lakeshores because there is plenty of water available for them to take up.
You can plant your tree in a pot and put it somewhere that it can get plenty of water. Just be careful not to over water it though.
If you have a stream or river nearby, then the tree will benefit from the extra humidity in the air.
How does one harvest American Water Chestnuts without getting horribly injured? I imagine this would ruin the plant since its a storage bulb, so would it be best to do this soon after digging up the tuber?
When digging up your chestnut tree, use a shovel or spade. Don’t dig up the whole tree since it will lead to rotting. It’s best to dig down about a foot near the base of the tree. Peel off the bark and then start digging out chunks of dirt with the tuber in it.
After you’ve dug up your chestnut tree, you can eat them or prepare them for storage. Boil them in salt water for about 15 to 20 minutes and then peel their shells off.
You can also dry them in the sun for 2 to 3 days after boiling them. Once dried, place them in a container and add enough oil to cover the nuts. The oil prevents it from going rancid. You can eat them after a few weeks but they taste better if you wait a few months.
What states are best for chestnut trees?
The US Forest Service has an article about chestnut trees and where they grow best. You can view it here.
Why is my chestnut tree not producing any nuts?
It’s possible your tree is either a male or female tree. Only the females produce nuts. If your tree is a male, then it will not bear any nuts and you should replace it with a female tree.
You should also check to see if your tree needs more water. Chestnut trees need moist soil in order to grow properly.
If you’ve given it plenty of water and it’s a female tree, then it could be a problem with the genetic make-up of your particular tree. Sometimes they just don’t produce for certain people even though they grow well for others.
You can always try another tree and see if it produces better results for you.
How should I store chestnuts so they don’t spoil?
You should peel the chestnut’s hard outer shell and then boil them in salt water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Boiling helps to kill any potential bacteria on the outside of the nut.
Drain off the water and let them cool before storing them in a container. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the nuts then store them in the fridge.
They should last up to 6 months this way. You can also dry the boiled nuts in the sun which makes them last 9 months.
Do chestnuts have any nutritional value?
Yes, chestnuts are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also gluten free, low in fat, and have no cholesterol. A 1-cup serving of chestnuts contains:
4.4 grams of protein
1.1 gram of fat
How do I cook chestnuts?
To prepare chestnuts, use a sharp knife to cut an “X” on the flat side of the shell. Place them in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes. This makes the shell come off much easier. Serve as is, or crush and add to your favorite stuffing.
Native Americans used to call the chestnut the “white man’s fat” since it was a substitute for fats when in shortage.
In the mid 1800’s, France was so dependent on chestnuts that a blight destroyed most of the trees. This led to unrest among the people since they couldn’t afford any other type of food.
Many people rioted and starved.
In the mid 1900’s, Japan imported American chestnut trees in an attempt to improve their forests. Instead, they brought over a blight that killed off all the trees within a few decades.
During World War II, the Japanese cut down all the trees on the mountains to slow down the American troops. All that was left were the chestnut trees since they grew so fast the Japanese didn’t have time to cut them all down.
American troops were able to hide in these trees and fight back.
The wood from chestnut trees is hard and very heavy. It was used to make cannons during the Revolutionary War.
The first domesticated horses were tamed under chestnut trees.
The American Chestnut was the most common tree species in the entire Eastern United States before the introduction of the Chestnut Blight.
The Blight was accidentally brought over on a cargo ship from Asia. It spread uncontrollably and killed over 4 billion American chestnut trees.
It has also been introduced to Europe and is killing off their Chestnut trees as well.
The Blight produces billions of spores each year and is so toxic that it killed everything within a 6 mile radius of where it was found. The fungus spread on the shoes of the lumberjacks in the area.
A few strains of the Blight have been discovered that are not as toxic and don’t kill all the trees. One such strain is being used in an attempt to bring back the American Chestnut tree.
The weight of a large horse’s hoof is equal to approximately 100 lbs. per square inch.
This means that a horse standing on a human chest would kill them fairly quickly.
A group of 6 horses is called a team.
When horses sleep, 2 sleep while the other 2 watch for predators and keep lookout.
The gestation period for a horse is 11 months long.
Horses are drawn to sweets.
The first horse shoe ever used was worn by Alexander the Great’s horse Bucephalus in 326 BC. It had been cast in bronze and secured with nails.
Later, metal straps replaced the nails.
The wild horse of North America is the Mustangs.
The fastest horses can run up to 40 miles per hour. The average speed for a horse when galloping is between 15 and 20 miles per hour.
You share your birthday with the horse.
Horses are omnivores, like humans. They eat grass, herbs, flowers, berries and trees.