Many consider that edible chestnut is those trees that are found in parks and squares of big cities. In fact, it is not, because you can not eat their fruits. They are bitter and have practically no nutritional value, although they are used in medical practice. For landscape design most often used horse chestnut, which belongs to the family Sapindovye. While its “congener” is edible, it is a representative of the family Beech. In addition to differences in the origin of these two species, they are not similar in appearance. Here are a few secrets of how to distinguish between edible( or planting) and inedible chestnut.
The history of the name of this tree goes back to Greek mythology. Jupiter madly loved one nymph. He pursued her so that she brought the score to life. The fictitious god turned the lost passion into a chestnut( Latin “caste” means virginal, well, “Ney” - the name of the chosen one).
"Two of the casket, but different from the face"
Everything is known in comparison - a long-known truth. Therefore, without a botanical description can not do. These differences are evident during the flowering period. It is almost impossible to walk past and not admire the exquisite horse chestnut candles, which cannot be said about edible chestnuts( at the bottom of the photo).At this time, it looks more like a willow or a shaggy polar bear. But still his crown has an unmatched appearance. Now it is worth considering each feature separately:
- Height. They can reach from 35 to 50 meters in height, almost like a 14- or 20-storey building. But their "brothers" are not above 25 m.
- Fruit. Differs in increased "shaggy" because it is densely covered with thin elastic needles. Behind this “fur coat” lies from one to three flattened nuts, the mass of which is not more than 20 g. Up to 190 kg of crop can be harvested from one tree.
- Leaves. They do not resemble the cone-shaped foliage of a horse species collected in luxurious fans. Each leaf of edible chestnut is planted on short rather than long petioles. Its leafy plate is oblong-oval in shape, 22 cm in length and up to 7 cm in width.
- Inflorescence. These perennials bloom in the first half of summer - in June, and sometimes in July. Blossoms are presented in the form of thin 15-centimeter spikes, in contrast to the pyramidal brushes of his “relative”.
Peel nuts is very difficult to remove. Therefore, some practice soaking them in water for several hours.
You can collect the fruits of these representatives of the Beech family in autumn( October or November).While on the stomach they ripen by 1 September. It should be remembered that the fruiting tree of edible chestnut begins 20 years after planting. This is five years later than other species. But in order to successfully grow these specimens in the country, you need to know the natural range of their habitat.
The meeting place cannot be changed
Representatives of the Sapindo family need loose and fertile soil. Moderate climatic conditions favorably influence their growth and development. They are often found in southern Europe and Russia, as well as in northern India, in eastern Asia, in China, Canada and the countries of North America. However, edible chestnuts grow mainly where the climate is more humid. Most often these are subtropical latitudes:
- Mediterranean( Italy, France, Spain);
- Asia Minor( Caucasus);
- of the Russian Federation;
- of the European part of Eurasia;
- United States.
Moreover, this species perfectly survives in temperate climates. Therefore, it is grown for decoration of some national parks and mass recreation places. In addition, edible chestnuts, the benefits of which were known many centuries ago, are widely used in cooking by many ethnic groups. The beneficial properties of the fruit, flowers, leaves and bark of this plant encourage gardeners to replenish their land with this variety.
Sudden temperature drops are destructive for them. The scorching rays of the sun, as well as the stifling air, dry the leaves, leaving burns on them. Severe and prolonged frosts destroy the shoots / roots of the tree.
Two sides of the same
medal. It is important to know that the edible chestnut is both good and bad. Therefore, you never need to abuse such a delicacy. These fried fruits are reminiscent of hazelnuts, as well as baked bread or potatoes cooked on charcoal. The composition of the glossy nuts includes:
- fat types( up to 6%);
- vitamins of groups B and A;
- carbohydrate bonds, more than 60%;
- trace elements.
This complex is a real explosive mixture for athletes. Once in the body, nutrients release an enormous amount of energy.
The skin of the fruit contains the lion's share of fiber, so some dry the skin and then add it to food. From the foliage, inflorescences and branches make tinctures, decoctions and infusions, which are used in the treatment of:
- inflammatory processes;
- diseases of the digestive system organs( has astringent properties).
Among other things, nuts cause allergies. They are contraindicated for those who have kidney problems. He is recommended to use them suffering from low blood pressure. Among the list of what edible chestnuts are useful for, it should be noted that their inflorescences are the rarest honey plants. The honey obtained from them is very much appreciated among the inhabitants of the Caucasus.
Dried nuts can be crushed in a blender. Then this powder is added to any dough. Along with the exotic flavor, you can get a decent supply of fiber for your body.
Choosing a place for the future “giant” is an important task. Because of their unique, even “selfish,” features, their competition is rarely sustained. A wide and dense crown obscures the light of flowers growing below. In turn, the root system grows so much in the upper layers of the soil that it destroys all neighboring plants.
Thus, in order to plant edible chestnuts in the country, you need to provide them with endless expanses. For each individual copy it is necessary to choose a place, the diameter of which should be 3-5 meters. This will allow the seedling to develop intensively. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that these "giants":
- are cold-resistant;
- perfectly tolerate air pollution;
- resistant to winds.
Taking into account these moments, home gardeners will long be able to enjoy the luxurious flowering and healthy fruits of edible chestnut. As the tree grows, it will form a fluffy and spreading crown.
Since you cannot plant anything under such a “giant”, this section can be used to set up a bench or swing. In the summer heat they will become an indispensable place to rest.
A few words worth saying about the choice of soil. Experts advise that this is a well-moistened black soil( loam). Although sandy soil is also a good option for planting, yet the tree on it will grow, develop and bear fruit slowly. But calcareous land almost immediately destroy the fragile germ.
Working with seedlings
The most optimal and speedy method of growing edible chestnut is with the help of a young seedling. It is important to make the necessary preparations:
- dig a square-shaped hole( each side is 0.5 m);
- lay at the bottom of a 15-centimeter drainage layer of pebbles / rubble;
- mix the earth, humus and sand( the soil should be 2 times more than the other components), and also dolomite flour( 500 g) in tandem with lime;
- add bait in the form of nitrogen, potash and phosphate fertilizers.
Now you need to carefully lay out a sapling from the container. Drainage sprinkle part of the substrate, put a tree in the hole, and then add the remaining soil. Then pour plenty of water with summer water. Near the basal neck to make a mound, which should rise above the soil level by 20 cm. However, for large varieties, the root neck should not be buried, but on the contrary, raise to 10 cm higher than the tubercle.
Young animals should be one or two years old. For it you need to make a support, and attach a trunk to them.
Autumn Work Plan
To do this, in November you need to collect as many nuts as possible. Only fallen, ripe specimens should be chosen. Now the main thing is to make cold hardening correctly. The gardener needs:
- to put the fruit in a plastic bag or box;
- covered with sand;
- put in a refrigerator / basement( room temperature is not higher than +5 degrees);Leave
- for 12 days, then transfer to open ground.
Shallow furrows should be dug out on the site, somewhere 5-6 cm deep. Rinse with plenty of water. Planting seeds-nuts must be every 15 cm, then covering them with a thick layer of fallen leaves, and leave for the winter. In the spring, it is worth removing weak sprouts, leaving a distance of 50 cm between good seedlings.
After a year or two, as a calibration, you can try to transplant some plants. This should be done very delicately, so as not to hurt the roots.
Spring troubles with
seeds It is noteworthy, but they begin in the autumn, because the nuts covered with sand can be kept in the basement until spring. Before planting, they should be removed from this certification system and soaked in warm water. It is important to monitor the condition of the fluid and change it as it becomes contaminated. This can be done daily. In five days of such “spa procedures”, the peel swells and the germ grows. After that, this nutlet is transferred to the ground, having previously prepared a plot for the future tree, so that the edible chestnut can grow intensively. Nevertheless, for the development of a strong root system, the top of young sprouts must be pinched.
Next spring, the growth of this seedling will be 25 cm. And by the age of five it will reach 3 meters.
Care in every movement.
A young tree should be watered as the soil dries. Every month, the soil around the trunk should be loosened, of course, after watering. For the winter period it is necessary to make a multil of the near-stem circle. Its height should be 12 cm. You can make such a “blanket” from leaves, sawdust and peat.
Every year( at the beginning of March) you need to feed the plant. In this case, the following fertilizer options can be used:
- cow dung( 1 kg of edible chestnut leaves per seedling);
- ammonium nitrate( 15 g of water per 15 liters);
- mineral fertilizers( containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus);
In this case, dry branches and missing leaves should be cut. Such procedures are especially needed in the first years of life. In the future, experts advise to form the crown of this “giant”, so that it has a luxurious look. As you can see, it is very easy to grow edible chestnut on its land. A few competent advice and reverent care serve as a guarantee of a stunning result.