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FutureStarrAHow to Grow Black Walnut Trees
There three ways to collect walnuts; pick them up off the ground in the fall, shake nuts loose using a telescopic branch holder or climb the tree and shake individual branches by hand. Picking them up off the ground after they drop in the fall is by far the safest way to collect walnuts and should provide a thousand walnuts or more from a reasonably mature tree.Separating the husk from a walnut is time consuming, messy work. There are two ways to do this; one is to soak about 50-husked nuts together in a five-gallon pail for 2 days. This will soften and loosen the husks from their nuts enough to be easily pulled apart by hand.
Another way to separate walnut husks is to fill a 20-gallon drum half full of water and pour in approximately 200 walnuts. Allow the nuts to soak for 48 hours. Then using a power cord drill (a cordless drill will not be powerful enough) with an agitator attachment (this is the same attachment they use to mix paint or drywall plaster, which can be purchased at most hardware stores, Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply, etc.) stir the nut filled water for about 5 minutes. Then using a small 1-gallon children’s beach pail, scoop some of the mixture out of the drum and pour it into an upturned milk crate placed on top of a downturned milk crate. The milk crates will work as a sieve and give you an elevated work station so there is less bending over and strain on your back. Vigorously spraying the husk soaked nuts with a garden hose will separate the nuts from the husks.
Set aside in a cool place – do not let them dry out unless you are cracking the nuts to eat.To start the process, clean and soak the nuts for 24 hours. Then strain and lay them out on a towel to dry at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Fill several large self-sealing plastic bags with nuts, peat and potting mix leaving just a little room at the top. Seal the bag and gently shake until nuts and soil are thoroughly mixed. It’s important not to add too many walnuts so you have good separation between nuts. A crowded nut bag will rot the nuts. Place the nut filled bags face down, one on top of each other in a second fridge (perhaps one you buy second hand and put in the garage). Do not place nut bags in your fridge where you keep food. After a few months, the nuts are ready to plant in ground. If you stratify black walnuts in December, then your nuts should be ready to plant in the spring. (Source: treeplantation.com)