Grow edible chestnuts in your garden


Christmas has a specific soothing aroma and mood, but we all know that the mood may be a little bit different for each of us. Some of us love the smell of vanilla, others cinnamon, oranges and some may like chestnuts. Roasted chestnuts certainly are the part of the Christmas mood. You may buy chestnuts in the supermarket or at traditional Christmas markets – where you can always buy edible chestnuts, but no one knows if traditional markets will be held this year…

Which chestnut tree produces edible chestnuts?

When we say chestnut, many of us think of a huge tree called the horse chestnut. While wild animals, especially pigs, enjoy them tremendously, humans do not. So, if you want to grow edible chestnuts, you need to get a tree called the sweet chestnuts (Castanea sativa Mill).. There are probably many other names but these are the chestnuts humans enjoy.

Chestnut tree needs a plenty of space

If you decide to grow your own chestnut tree, be aware that it is a really big tree. It reaches a height of 20 to 25 meters and older trees can have trunks as thick as 2 meters. It also lives a long time. Up to 200 years, but in Asia, there trees that are thousand years old! Plus, it is a cross-pollinating tree, so you should get two or more trees.

Selection of site

Sweet chestnut will grow well in warmer areas. For example, wine regions are great if you live in central Europe. Sweet chestnut also produces a pretty strong allergens, so it should not be close to human dwellings, but in orchards, for example . Small children with allergies should definitely not play around it…



Sweet chestnut – cultivation

The soil should be loose and well-drained, pH from 5 to 5.6. It should have enough phosphorus and potassium. It is recommended to protect young trees from cold winters and from harsh spring sun – jute wrap is great for this. If you wrap it around, the bark will not crack and the tree will be less susceptible to diseases.

Planting more trees

If you are going to plant more trees (which is recommend), leave a gap of 10 to 15 meters between each tree. If you plant seeds, leave 15 meters or more, because these trees tend to spread out more than grafted trees, where the spacing of 10 meters is sufficient. If you plant one tree only, the tree may produce so-called dead fruits – empty shells without any chestnuts. So again, plant two or more trees.


The tree flowers from May to June. However, you must wait until October or longer to harvest ripe sweet chestnuts and you must do it manually. It could be pretty tough. You may grind smaller chestnuts to make chestnut flour and consume the large ones. However, it is recommended to soak chestnuts in 50 °C water and then cool them. This will get rid of parasites that may be inside the fruit and it will also extend the shelf life.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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