Warm Climate Nuts

Course CodeBHT308
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Warm Climate Nuts 

  • Learn to grow nuts from Warmer temperate to tropic regions
  • Start, manage or work on a nut farm
  • Work in a business that services nut farms (eg -supplying equipment, contracting services, marketing etc)

For most people, a nut is a type of food and a delightful food at that! Strictly speaking, not all nuts are edible; but this course is only concerned with edible nuts and in particular, the ones that are grown more extensively around the world in warm climates.

The tropical nut trees are dependent on your locality and conditions can vary quite considerably even in tropical areas, for example certain tropical areas may experience frosts. However there are so many varieties worth trying that it is worth learning about them all!

There are eight lessons including a special project in this course. This course is designed as a detailed look at identification and culture of nuts in warmer climates. Emphasis is placed on the species that are of horticultural value.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What is a Nut
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Main family groups of nuts
    • Family Juglandaceae
    • Family Corylaceae
    • Family Characteristics
    • Family Fagaceae
    • Family Proteaceae
    • Family Burseraceae
    • Family Lecthidaceae
    • Family Sterculiaceae
    • Family Anacardiaceae
    • Family Rosaceae
    • Family Leguminosae
    • Family Asteraceae
    • Family Cucurbitaceae
    • Family Palmaceae
    • Family Pinaceae
    • Information contacts (i.e. nurseries, seed, clubs etc.)
    • Potential for Nut Growing
  2. Nut Plant Culture
    • Terminology
    • Soil and Nutrition Management
    • Planting,water management, plant health, pruning, etc.
  3. Propagation of Nut Plants
    • Seed
    • Cuttings
    • Propagating Media
    • Hardening off Young plants
    • Layering
    • Budding and grafting
  4. The Macadamia
    • Magadamia growing in Australia & elsewhere
    • Cultivars
    • Macadamia recipes
  5. The Pecan
    • Nutritional components of the nut
    • Culture
    • Climate
    • Propagation
    • Cultivars
    • Problems
    • Uses
  6. Other Varieties which Grow in Warm Climates
    • Pistacio
    • Cashew
    • Peanut
    • Almond
    • Baobab (Andersonia)
    • Brazil Nut
    • Coconut
    • Guarana
    • Cola
    • Sunflower
    • Cocao
    • Coffee
    • Sesame Seed
    • Others are reviewd briefly, including: Pili Nut, Acacia, Hausa Ground Nut etc
  7. Selecting a site and planting a plot.
    • Site Selection and management
    • Site characteristics
    • Climate
    • Biological characteristics
    • Water
    • Other factors
    • Using weedicides with nut plantings
  8. Growing, harvesting and using nuts.
    • Harvest and storage of nuts
    • Sorting, Cleaning, Drying
    • Uses for nuts -food, crafts, timber etc

Aims

  • Learn about the classification of nuts
  • Learn to access sources of organisations specific to nut production
  • Learn about the cultural requirements of tropical nuts, as most of the varieties we look at are for the tropics or warm climates.
  • Discover the characterisitics of soils. Understand plant nutrition, plant health, watering techniques,environmental protection for your crops,pest and disease management
  • Learn techniques for pruning and maintenance
  • Learn how to successfully propagate nut trees; propagation from nut seeds and cuttings grafting, layering,establishing root-stocks
  • Describe a range of different nuts including Macadamia nut trees, Pecan nuts, Pistachio, Cashew, Almond, Brazil and other nut varieties
  • Describe the establishment and horticultural management of tropical nut trees is looked at.
  • Learn about site selection for successful cultivation, planting techniques and factors affecting the selection of a site.
  • Describe the harvesting and storage of nuts is reviewed.

WHAT IS A NUT?

Botanists define a nut as follows:

"A dry, indehiscent, one seeded fruit, somewhat similar to an achene, but the product of more than one carpel, and usually larger with a hard woody wall"
(Reference: A Dictionary of Biology by Abercrombie et al, published by Penguin).

If you do not quite understand this description:

Indehiscent simply means that the fruit does not break open readily and release the seed
(Note: Legumes such as wattles or peas in contrast are dehiscent fruits -they dry, and then drop seeds while the dry fruits are still attached to the plant).

An Achene is a simple, thin walled fruit and contains only one seed. A strawberry in fact is a large number of individual tiny achenes which cover a fleshy receptacle (Note. The fleshy receptacle is what we eat as a strawberry; while the fruits and seeds are tiny gritty bits covering the surface).

Many types of plants have nuts as fruits; some are grown commercially as edible food products, and others are not.

Nuts are produced by the following trees; Quercus (oaks), Pecan, Filbert, Hickory, Macadamia,
Hazelnut and others.

Commercial Growers and Home Gardeners may be less rigid in the way they define a nut. Generally nuts are edible fruits or parts of fruits which are hard, relatively dry (unlike fleshy fruits), and are able to be roasted for eating, or in many cases, may be eaten fresh.

In some cases, the roasting may destroy undesirable chemicals in the nut, or may enhance the flavour.

In the strict botanical sense, a peanut would not be a nut, because there can be more than one seed inside a fruit; however peanuts are perhaps the most widely grown commercial nut in the world.

Nuts above all have a distinct advantage over other fruits in their keeping quality. Being a dry product, they are less susceptible to spoilage, and will generally store well without any sophisticated or expensive storage treatments. This characteristic alone extends their marketing life, and can eliminate many problems associated with other types of crops.
(Note: They may need protection from pests though (eg. rodents and other vermin).

There are many nuts which are grown and eaten in one region, but not commonly heard of in other parts of the world. This is particularly the case in many tropical areas, where nuts which are eaten by local people may offer significant potential for future commercial cropping.

POTENTIAL FOR NUT GROWING

Nut trees are considered to be a medium to long term investment.

If grown commercially, most nuts (except peanuts, which crop in six months) take five or more years to bear and up to fifteen years to mature.

 

If you are considering a nut tree in your home garden, make sure you have plenty of space. Often you may need at least two trees of different varieties to ensure adequate pollination and hence nut set.

 

In all cases well drained, fertile soil is important; and irrigation desirable for tree maturity and early bearing. In dry summer climates watering is essential.

 

Generally speaking healthy nut trees are not susceptible to many pests and diseases. However our famous cockatoos and parrots are very partial to ripe nuts.

 

Nowadays we use grafted nut trees for vigour and disease resistance.

Often there are several different varieties for each type of nut. These have been developed for particular climates and times of ripening. Nut varieties are classified as early, mid season or late maturing.

 

A local nursery should advise you on the selection of varieties to suit your needs and situation.

A young nut tree develops a strong root system if the planting area is kept weed free. When established a grass and clover cover can be maintained (mown) around and between trees.

 

Regular fertilizing during the growing season encourages strong growth, pest and disease resistance and high yields of plump nuts. Nitrogen is a most important nutrient for nuts but don't forget Phosphorus and Potassium.

Nut trees are generally pruned and trained to develop a strong central trunk with five to six main branches. Prune in early winter after leaves drop.

 

Nuts are harvested in autumn, usually after falling to the ground, although they can be picked from the tree as they ripen. When kept in dry, cool conditions, nuts will keep for many months.

 

The Table below shows the growing conditions and cultivation practices necessary for successful production of  some nuts in Australia.

 

TABLE  QUICK GUIDE TO CHOOSING AND GROWING  NUT TREES

 

CROP

TREESIZE & SPACING

BEARING AGE& YIELDS

PREFERRED CLIMATE & RAINFALL

HARVEST PERIOD

Almond

Medium

7 x 7m

3-5 years

4-12 kgs

Warm dry summers

700-900mm

Feb-May

Macadamia

Large

10 x 10m

5-7 years

18-20 kgs

Subtropical frost-free

1600+mm

Mar-June

Pecan

Large

8 x 8m

7-10 years

20-30 kgs

Lost frost free growing season with warm days & nights. 1000+mm

May-June

Pistachio

Small

10 x 8m

5 years

up to 30 kgs

Long, hot dry summers; cold winters

March

 





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