Growing your own hazelnuts is a fun project with hearty rewards, especially if you live in an area where you did not think you could grow nuts. If you can get your hands on some freshly picked hazelnuts and you have a refrigerator, you will be able to have seedlings growing within a few months. The seedlings develop into bushes that will produce nuts in three to five years.
Place your hazelnuts into a container of water so they are covered completely. Add enough water so that they can float. Seeds that float are not good, so remove those and save the ones that sink.
Pour the hazelnuts into a plastic bag. Add an equal amount of sand and enough water to just slightly moisten the mixture. Close the bag and place it in the back of your vegetable drawer in your refrigerator.
Allow the nuts to go through a stratification period where the several weeks of cold will break the hibernation of the germination process. Check periodically for mould and remove any bad nuts. If you store the nuts in late October or early November, they can be stored for about 12 weeks and be ready for sprouting in February.
Plant the nuts in six-inch pots filled with potting soil. Make a one-inch-deep hole with the back of a pencil or your finger and place the nut in it. Cover with soil. Water it and place the pot in a warm and sunny window, keeping the soil moist.
Watch for the first signs of growth and then begin watering a little less, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. This will force the roots down into the bottom of the pot. Turn the pot a quarter of a turn every couple of days to keep it from leaning in one direction.
Transplant the seedling outside to a sunny spot after the outside temperatures have warmed to about 15.6 degrees C during the day and above freezing at night. Make sure it stays watered during the first year especially. The plants should fruit within three to five years.
Although fertiliser is not necessary, it will increase the growth and health of the bushes.