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Harvesting walnuts will give you a superfood straight from your garden

Lisa Garden on 20-10-2017

Walnuts are easy to grow and harvest and are recognised as a superfood, packet with goodness. They can increase brain power, better our mood, speed up metabolism and reduce the speed of the spread of cancer, to name but a few great health benefits. Sound good? They are easy to take care of and are available for purchase at good local garden centres where there are many varieties to choose from. Walnut trees need room to grow as they will become large trees and not many are self fertile. If you only have room for one then try:

  • Broadview
  • Buccaneer
  • Franquette
  • Rhonde de Montignac

If you do have space for two trees then some good new French varieties are:

  • Fernor
  • Fernette

When can I expect to harvest walnuts from my trees

A walnut tree will produce a harvest about 10 years after growing and will see the best crops after 30 years. They are harvested in the UK around October, depending on the variety and the temperature of the place that it is planted in. Walnuts are ready to harvest when their green outer casing splits open on the tree, but in cooler areas this may not happen so they are picked with the outer casing intact. The inner tissue between the kernel and the shell will be brown and a few sample nuts should be cracked open to check that the nut is fully formed within the shell.


How do I harvest walnuts and store them?

The tree can be shaken to allow the ripened walnuts to be easily harvested by falling to the ground. You can place a ground sheet around the tree for easier collection. You can use a large stick to knock any high nuts off the tree, or buy a tool for picking walnuts if you are a person who likes gadgets. Walnuts will stain the skin so it is advisable to wear gloves when they are being handled. The outer casing must be removed and the walnuts cleaned with a wire brush to prevent mould formation before storing.

Quick Fact!

  • The black substance from within walnut husks was used by Ancient Egyptians to make their eye makeup. It was mixed with goat fat to form a perfect black paste that was used as eyeliner.


After harvesting, walnuts will need to be dried

You can dry your walnuts after harvesting by putting them in a cool oven set at no more than 40 degrees Celsius (104F). Once they have been dried properly then can be stored for a couple of years. Local garden centres stock a wide range of walnut trees that can be purchased and planted, along with the fertilisers that they need to produce their delicious nut crops. Young trees will need to be staked and nets can be bought to prevent squirrels from climbing walnut trees and devastating the crop. All these things and plenty of free advice is available at local garden centres.