Friday, August 24, 2012

Hazelnut Field Day

My parents attended a field day hosted by the University of Minnesota on propagating hazelnuts on July 26. They were quoted in the following article!
US: The rise of Minnesota hazelnuts
It was very interesting to learn how they are propagating hazelnuts. They have been successfully propagating by layering and also soft-wood cuttings (which was previously very unsuccessful). Here are a couple pictures from the event. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hazelnut harvest underway

The hazelnuts are starting to ripen. Well, what is left of them are ripening anyways. The squirrels have really gone crazy for them this year. We think due to lack of other natural food, such as acorns and ash seeds, the squirrels started going after the hazelnuts even before they were ripe. My dad says he has live-trapped 26 squirrels so far in the past few weeks, including two more flying squirrels.

aww!! In the second picture you can somewhat see it's arm flaps. Those guys were also relocated to the same area with some nice big trees. 

This weekend we will continue to collect hazelnuts when they become ripe. Since there is such a wide variety of plants, they will normally ripen between the end of August to the end of September. This year they ripened about two weeks earlier. My dad is continuing to spray the hazelnuts with hot pepper spray, which really does seem to help. Hopefully there will be some good hazelnuts left to collect. The squirrels seems to know which ones taste the best and go for those first. 

Also, see the right side for an introduction written by founder of Riverbend Hazelnuts- Dan Johnson (aka - my dad).

Here is the recipe for the hot pepper spray. I think it works to keep rabbits and deer from nibbling on your plants too. 

Hot Pepper Spray
(WEAR GLOVES! Goggles aren't a bad idea either)

Red Cayenne, Jalapeno, or habanero fresh peppers (cayenne for stronger mix)

Put 3 Peppers in a food processor with enough water to make a liquid. 
Strain through cheese cloth into a quart jar
Add 2 tablespoons Olive/Vegetable oil
Squirt of Elmer's glue
2 drops liquid dish-soap

Use 1 part of mixture to 10 parts water

Shake well
Spray on plant with spray bottle.

(Don't make it any strong then 30%)
Be careful not to get this in your eyes.