The Nuttery : Volume 9 Number 4 December 1990

In this Issue...

The Winter Meeting of the Eastern Chapter of SONG will be held Wednesday January 23, 1991. Registration 7:30 to 8:00 PM in the Citizen Building, 1101 Baxter Rd., Ottawa, near the Queensway-Greenbank Offramp. The theme for this meeting is Achievements in Nut Growing. There is lots to talk about! Open to everyone, so bring friends and family, & nut treats. Call any executive member for more information.

This issue of the Nuttery we dedicate, with a deep and abiding gratitude, to the memory of one of the Chapter's founders. Filmore Robert Park, affectionately Fil to all of us, a wise and respected friend, died on November 30, 1990. Fil began the process that led to both this Chapter and the Baxter Nut Grove; an obituary is inside.

Much has happened in the nut growing world since the last issue. This issue barely skims the surface of all that has been accomplished. We will learn much more at the forthcoming Winter meeting. With regard to Chapter Projects, there is news about the Baxter Liaison Committee, the National Arboretum Liaison Committee, an emerging planning committee for Oak Valley, and an incipient nut industry committee for promoting commerce. Some news as well on the Newfoundland Connection, with a footnote on the Siberian Connection. Under General News, there is a brief report on a hardwoods workshop in Prescott this past November that dwelt on the value of nut trees, and many attendees seemed keenly interested. Also, the chapter applied for an extended geographic area which was granted: our new name is the Eastern Chapter of SONG, ECSONG. An article about SONG appeared on the front page of the national edition of the Globe and Mail. A hardwoods management course will be given at KCAT by our vice-chair, Mark Schaefer. There are several other short items as well. In the Nut Grower section, there is an article on how thin shelled nuts might be stored to delay germination while keeping the seed alive. Another article explains how to employ squirrels to gather nuts for you.

We hope you enjoy this issue of the Nuttery and find it useful. Letters to the editor are always welcome.

The Baxter Liaison Committee

A turning point has come for the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) Baxter Nut Grove, as we head into the 90's. We are now on the home stretch to the year 2000 when the nut grove will be a beautiful parkland of many species of maturing nut and bean-bearing trees and shrubs. However, this will not happen automatically. We must continue to work on the grove, grooming, planting, documenting and so on. Accordingly, Cliff Craig of the RVCA has taken on the Chair of a Baxter Nut Grove Liaison Committee, dedicated to seeing the grove achieve its best by the turn of the century. Cliff's committee, presently composed of Alec Jones, George Joiner and Mark Schaefer, are laying the ground work for this decade's development. Along with clear plans, and a strong sense of the history of the grove, the group will be undertaking inter alia to enrol younger members to learn from and help the older members tend the trees during this transitional period. This technical transfer of special knowledge and insight will likely spin off the planning of the Oak Valley Plantation Committee (Bob Bogle and Irene Woolford can tell you more), to Pat Doyle's newly-forming National Arboretum Liaison Committee, and to the also-new Nut Industry Development Committee.

The Baxter Liaison Committee is ECSONG's most important committee today, with already a decade legacy of accomplishment under its belt. Now, with the nut grove maturing and a growing awareness of its existence spreading amongst the public, the grove will be receiving more and more attention from outside the chapter, from other growers groups like the Canadian Organic Growers, the various horticultural societies, as well as politicians and the press. After all, the Baxter Nut Grove belongs to the people, and they will come to both know and cherish it and its builders in the years and decades to come, largely because of the vital work this select committee now is embarking on. To get on board this historic journey, call Cliff in Kanata 836-6928 evenings, or at the RVCA headquarters during the day in Manotick 692-3571.

The National Arboretum Liaison Committee

Friday, December 21st, 1990 was a signal day for this brand new committee. At a special lunch with the Curator of Canada's National Arboretum, Trevor Cole, in Ottawa, the possible future role ECSONG might play in furthering the goals of the NA were discussed in detail. The NA is definitely interested in extending its collection of nut and bean- bearing tree and shrub specimens. Suitably documented specimens of accepted species could be donated; a list of interesting species should be prepared for consideration. The vice-president of SONG, Heather Apple, has indicated that specimens of a wide variety of species and cultivars might be made available for this project. She pointed out that the Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) has tried to start up an arboretum of its own unsuccessfully mainly because of the daunting magnitude of the task. Here in Ottawa at the NA, ECSONG and SONG have the chance to succeed because the basic arboretum already exists.

The possibility of a nut grove in the NA itself was regarded favourably. Also, seed could be stored at arboretum facilities and seed exchange lists published. The curator appreciated that ECSONG's efforts normally garner publicity, and welcomed sharing such exposure to the arboretums benefit. He like the idea that the NA be recognised as a living museum of trees with an important research role to play. It was even suggested that the NA be thought of as on a par with Canada's other national museums re status and funding, considering how important to Canada its trees are. The Curator expressed interest in starting liaison as soon as possible, so some progress might be made this coming spring.

A background document has been prepared for a liaison committee and Pat Doyle has agreed to get the committee started post haste. If you are interested in participating in this high profile program, call Pat in Perth at 264-1235 evenings.

The Oak Valley Planning Committee

Most of us have visited the Oak Valley Plantation near Winchester Springs at least once over the past 2 or 3 years. Considerable work has been done by members (including Irene Woolford, Fil Park, George Joiner, Alec Jones, Kathleen Jones, Susan Cooper, George Truscott, Sylvia Powers, Bob Bogle, Mark Schaefer, just to name a few) on this riverside site located in the area of the South Nation River Conservation Authority. The Authority's Forester, Josée Brizard, has expressed an interest in seeing the site blossom. A background document on planning the site's future development has been written, and passed to several members for comments. The response has been favourable. Amongst other things, the document proposes a planning committee be established immediately to draw up a ten-year plan, and to recommend on the implementation of the plan. One of the first tasks that must be done is to survey and map the site.

The committee has already attracted several participants, including Irene and Josée. The committee needs a skilled surveyor/mapper as well as a forester and an experienced nut grower. The committee could start up soon. The procedure would be to have the Chair of ECSONG call an inaugural meeting of interested people. At the meeting, goals and procedures would be discussed, questions answered, and the committee formally instituted. Members interested in attending the inauguration can call Hank Jones, Chair ECSONG, to get the background document and to help select the date and place for the inaugural meeting.

A Commercial Growers Committee

A new committee is forming to address the problems of promoting commercial nut growing in eastern Ontario. Following a number of informal discussions with several members, including Ed Hogan, Bob Bogle, John Johnstone, Guy Lefebvre, Pat Doyle and Alec Jones, and with craftsmen like Geoff Truscott outside ECSONG, it is clear that the time is ripe for promoting a nut industry in this region. Examining what such an industry might do, one can see products and services ranging from technical information to growers, to wood products, food products, seed and seed by-products, seedlings, consulting and so on. This means that an industry can start today, built around feral nut trees growing in the region. This could prime legitimate markets so they will be ready when specially planted trees begin to produce. Ed Hogan pointed out that the main lack for potential nut growers here is not information on growing (though there is still a need for information tuned to this region) but is market information. This market information is what potential growers need in order to plan their plantations, future products and services. Fortunately, there is already a market for nuts and nut woods in the region, but the stats need to be compiled that show potential market share.

The proposed committee could address this issue, as well as undertake to promote locally produced products and producers. It is time this committee was inaugurated. A meeting should be arranged soon to bring together members interested in stimulating a nut industry. A background document has been drafted and is available to anyone interested from Hank Jones, Chair ECSONG, by phone in Ottawa 736-9390 (anytime), 731-5237 (evenings) or 990-0252 (workdays).

The Newfoundland Connection

Alec Jones, the coordinator for ECSONG's Newfoundland Connection project, reports an important shipment of seed to Woodrow Burry, Newfoundland's Department of Forestry representative in the project. Mr. Burry is developing an arboretum for Newfoundland near Grand Falls, with our help. Alec has been shipping horticultural quantities of nut seed from selected species, mostly gathered locally by members, to Mr. Burry for some time.

This fall, seed from seven species were shipped in November. Five of the species were from local stock, namely 1990 black walnut, 1989 butternut, 1990 horse chestnut, all from Ottawa; 1990 bitternut hickory from Lanark, and Ohio buckeye from Metcalfe. The other two species shipped were from Asian stock, gotten through the ECSONG Siberian Connection project, namely Carpathian walnut from Kiev, Ukraine, and Manchurian walnut from Barnaui, Siberia, complements of Mr. Koshelev, the project's Soviet representative.

The Newfoundland Connection and the Siberian Connection seed exchange projects are important to ECSONG. Our contributions gain us recognition that is already helping us further nut growing in eastern Ontario, for example we have been able to start a new joint project with Canada's National Arboretum, and another to promote a commercial nut industry that could combine future jobs with a healthier environment, two goals that usually conflict.

Consideration is being given to holding a special seminar in the near future on our seed exchange projects in general, to examine and document their activities and potential benefits to ECSONG members and others, and to seek ways to facilitate, even expand, the work. This seminar would be open to members, and others by invitation. Well-equipped meeting facilities can be easily arranged in Ottawa or nearby the city. We need a seminar leader to plan and chair the seminar, and to provide proceedings for publication by ECSONG. Contact Alec Jones in Ottawa 828-6459 or Hank Jones, ECSONG Chair in Ottawa.

The Nuttery Editorial Board

The Nuttery Editorial Board now has two members, Hank Jones and Timo Aasen. The basic task before this board is to ensure the Nuttery is published on time and is distributed to the benefit of ECSONG and its members. At the same time, the Board will be reviewing past Nutterys, aiming to enrich the newsletter's content to better fulfill member's information needs.

It is already clear that we need more technical information about growing and caring for particular species and cultivars in the various microclimates and soil types in the region. A network of local member reporters routinely talking to nut growers and suppliers, each in their own area, could uncover a lot of advice and experience. For example, if we had a reporter in each major town such as Perth, Kemptville, Brockville, Kingston, Carleton Place, Pembroke, Winchester, Casselman, Cornwall and so on, who would get to know the people in the region, seek out interesting information, and file reports from time to time, the Nuttery would better reflect the diverse interests of the membership.

The Board needs a member whose own interests include knowing what nut growers are achieving in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. We need someone who could set up and run such a reporting network for the Nuttery.

Another consideration for publishing is computer support and desktop publishing. The Nuttery is entirely published by computer, except for printing. Anyone with a home computer, any brand, with a word processor or desktop publisher program, any brand, and a yen (no experience required!) to write about nut growing in any way, shape or form, such as newspaper articles, technical papers, books, pamphlets, cartoons etc. should seriously consider joining the Editorial Board. Simply contact Hank Jones, Editor in Ottawa.

Hardwood Workshop Stresses Nut Trees

They packed the Legion hall in Prescott on Saturday November 24, 1990 to hear about the new directions in Ontario forestry, namely back to planting hardwoods. It was standing room only.

The workshop was sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ontario Forestry Association, and Domtar. Amongst other presenters, John Gardner and Fred von Althen talked specifically about growing hardwood nut trees to the packed hall. John handed out copies of Nut Culture in Ontario, which were snapped up as fast as he could offer them. Clearly, nut trees were on many people's minds! If you missed the meeting, ask one of the many ECSONG members who attended. Unfortunately for ECSONG, this surge of interest was not foreseen, and we were not prepared to take immediate advantage of the situation. However, we have requested a copy of the workshop registration list so that we can follow up and contact as many attendees as possible to tell them about ECSONG and to invite them to our winter meeting on January 23rd. As one member at the workshop put it, "nut growing in eastern Ontario has come a long way!"

Our New Chapter Name

Depending on how you read through your Nuttery, you may have already come across the acronym ECSONG before you read this article. Well, we have a new chapter name. Originally, the chapter was set up as the Ottawa Area Chapter of SONG, and our geographic area was defined as contiguous with the areas of the three local conservation authorities, namely the Rideau Valley CA, the Mississippi River CA and the South Nation River CA. Today, we have membership spread over a larger area. It was suggested on a number of occasions that we should inquire of our outlying members, specially eastward toward Quebec, whether they would like their areas included in this chapter's jurisdiction. The answer was an unequivocal, "yes". The chapter then proposed to apply to SONG for a name change and a broader geographic area. A letter of request was sent. This was quickly approved by headquarters, and we have officially become the Eastern Chapter of SONG, abbreviated ECSONG, and been given Eastern Ontario for our nut growing grounds. This change is subject to approval at our Annual General Meeting this coming March at the Baxter Interpretive Center.

To kick off this new responsibility, the executive has issued a document entitled A Summary of Chapter Programs, Projects and Publications, which describes the chapter's present work and achievements in a nutshell. Copies will be available at the winter meeting on January 23rd.

A Giant Step for Nut Growing in Canada

Did you happen to read the national edition of the Globe and Mail on Monday December 17, 1990? If so, you probably noticed on page one an article entitled "Cultivating a taste for the exotic". If you were tantalized and read on, you would have discovered the topic was really about the SONG. The main characters in the drama were Ernie Grimo and Doug Campbell. The article explained their long standing (and fruitful) efforts to grow a variety of edible fruit trees brought from further south in North America into the "banana belt" of extreme southern Ontario. A side bar explained something of the Ontario growing regions amenable to exotics, as well as providing the address for SONG.

The article shows a picture of Doug presenting a large basket of many kinds of nuts to the camera. According to the reporter, both Doug and Ernie are seeking individual specimens of many interesting species that prove they can grow successfully in Canada. These specimens will provide seed and cuttings for propagation into Canada.

Not mentioned in the article specifically was the importance of these growing trials to finding trees of warmer climates in anticipation of the greenhouse effect climate warming that could in the near future severely stress our native trees. More southerly trees, already set to growing here might be preadapted to the predicted warmer, drier weather and so assure trees will continue to grow in Ontario. (Note: at the recent workshop in Prescott, a forest meteorologist from the federal government's Atmospheric Environment Service in Toronto projected a grassland, sans trees, for this region if the predicted degree of warming actually occurs.)

A shortened version of the article appeared also in the Ottawa Citizen on the following Saturday. The Chapter Executive has suggested that we should capitalise on the windfall publicity by establishing permanent lines of communication with the media around the region, such as putting key newspapers on the Nuttery mailing list, and always inviting members of the press to our meetings. Consequently, we are now looking for the names of media people and publications whom we might connect up with. If you the reader have names or other suggestions to make, please contact the Nuttery Editor at your earliest convenience.

A Local Nut Suppliers list?

Many members want to know where nut growing stock and supplies can be obtained locally. As yet, no up-to-date list has been compiled. Companies or individuals who sell acclimatised seed, seedlings, cuttings, grafts, supplies and information would be candidates for the list. Might the newly formed Nut Industry Development Committee make up such a list for the next issue of the Nuttery?

Caught from the radio with one ear ...

A funeral home either in Hull or Gatineau has instituted the memorial planting of trees. The home chose to plant a nut tree, the red oak, because it grows so well in the region. If the family chooses a memorial tree, the home arranges to have it planted in a nearby park.

Pioneer Nut Use

Many readers may have heard of The Log Farm on Cedarview Road in Nepean. The farm, on a 100 acre site, was originally instituted by the NCC but is now run by the Log Farm Trust Society. It recreates rural life in the region from the 1870's through a year-round program of several seasonally-appropriate demonstrations of life skills by volunteers dressed in period costumes.

The question? Would ECSONG be interested in contributing demonstrations of nut use by the native peoples and early settlers of this region? Though we have been largely forward looking, we might enrich our own understanding of the multiple benefits of nut trees by recapitulating the past. Consider the food uses, medicines, wood crafts, dyes, stains, jewellery, construction, shell abrasives/polishes, and on and on. Our forebears wasted little; surely nut trees figured prominently in their day to day lives. Interested? Call Hank Jones, Ottawa. Also, are there butternuts, bitternut hickories, red or white oak, or other species of nut trees already growing on the site? Or, could we arrange to plant some? Anyone interested in cruising the site and maybe speculating on a nut grove, call Hank.

The debt we owe Fil

In 1977, an article appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail about nut growing in Ontario. It talked about nut growing as an occupation, about growing nut trees farther north than anyone had yet tried, and about a young organization just a few years old called the Society of Ontario Nut Growers. Fil read the article, and decided to join SONG. He was not alone. Several others, Alec Jones and Bill Dickson, just to name two, also saw the article and were moved to join. Fil got a copy of the membership, and searched for the names of people in eastern Ontario. He found Alec and Bill. He called them, to see if they would like to meet. At their first meeting Fil suggested they might work together in the region. Fil was elected to lead the group and Alec as secretary. They decided that, given the great distance to the main SONG group, a local chapter might prove the best way to promote nut growing in the Ottawa area. An application was made to SONG, quickly approved, the group drafted a constitution, and the Ottawa Area Chapter of SONG was born. Not long after, on a Woodlots Improvement Act field day, sponsored by OMNR, the group first met Mark Schaefer and visited the federal forestry lab near Mer Bleue. There they met Moe Anderson and saw the work he was doing with black walnut and other species. About this time, two important events occurred. First, Fil, who had been a guiding force for the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, conceived the idea of a nut grove and convinced the RVCA to sponsor it. Thus, the Baxter Nut Grove was born. The other event was the imminent closing of the forestry lab: the director gave permission to the Chapter to transplant any suitable trees to the Nut grove. Alec recruited Hubert Rhodes to help the chapter plan the layout, and soon trees were moving from Mer Bleue to Baxter.

We owe a lot to Fil, both as a chapter and as individuals who can now obtain locally grown nut tree stock in eastern Ontario. We will remember you, Fil, with every tree we plant.

Storing Acorns under Running Water?

During the hardwood workshop at Prescott in November, we had an opportunity to talk with Eric Boysen, Forestry Specialist of the OMNR about storing acorns over winter. Any nut that tends to germinate on ripening is difficult to store. Some acorns are in this category. Also, nuts that must be kept moist can be hard to keep because they easily become mouldy in damp storage. Eric explained an interesting technique he has used that could help solve both these problems. He told us specifically about handling acorns. He puts them in a triple sack, such as 3 burlap sacks, each one inside another. The sacks are then placed under running water, such as in a stream or river, to be left over winter. The cold aerated water inhibits germination, resists moulding, stabilizes the temperature while preventing freezing, and ensures a good oxygen supply for the basal metabolism. It may also act as a moat, preventing animals from getting at the seed. If the running water does not freeze over, the seed can be retrieved for use anytime.

Possibly this method could be used for ginkgos and horse chestnuts which must be stored moist and not allowed to dry at any time. Moist storage encourages mould to grow, wet storage under running water may not. On the other hand, this storage method may waterlog the thin-shelled ginkgos and horse chestnuts, and maybe kill them. The Nuttery would be glad to publish any comments from readers on this procedure. Send us a letter or write your own article, and you will get a byline!

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.