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Have you ever taken a walk with your kids in the fall and found yourself waiting while they collected pinecones on the ground?
Pinetrees often grow in areas that get really wet, and those conditions are not ideal for the seeds to develop. Our best crafts, activities, recipes and articles delivered to your inbox, every two weeks. Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. This time of year, if you take a walk through an area with pine trees, you’ll find pine cones nearly blanketing the ground. A simple, inexpensive, and attractive solution to mulching around trees and over garden beds is pine cones. You may remember making a pine cone bird feeder as a kid; it’s a popular and simple craft for all ages. With some paraffin wax, a double boiler, and your pine cone stash, you can create fire starters to help get the hearth flames burning come wintertime.
Even before Halloween is over, you can find bags of cinnamon-scented pine cones in the stores—a sure sign that the holidays are just around the corner. You can bring the outdoors in to your holiday table with simple yet elegant pine cone place card holders.
Pine nuts are a staple in many indigenous cuisines and have migrated to the United States as a part of our family table. There are several pine trees that will produce reasonably sized seeds for harvesting that will thrive in North American regions.
Toasted pine nuts in salads, pastas, pesto and other dishes add a nutty crunch and earthy flavor to any recipe. Pine nut trees may range from 200-foot-tall monsters to more manageable 10-foot-tall bushes. Plants have some drought tolerance for short periods, but providing average moisture will also ensure better plant health and growth. Once you have mature healthy trees, you can harvest the cones, but don’t expect a bumper crop. A Dr-Seuss-like tree with a straight, rough-barked trunk, bare horizontal branches with a tuft of glossy green lance-shaped leaves on the end and a very symmetrical, dome shaped crown.
Indigenous Australians eat the nut of the bunya tree both raw and cooked (roasted, and in more recent times boiled), and also in its immature form. Apart from consuming the nuts, Indigenous Australians ate bunya shoots, and utilised the tree’s bark as kindling.
Bunya nuts are still sold as a regular food item in grocery stalls and street-side stalls around rural southern Queensland. Since the mid-1990s, the Australian company Maton has used bunya for the soundboards of its BG808CL Performer acoustic guitars. Great tree, I ate a lot of these when staying at Cows Nest in Bega, Australia (well south of Sydney, so hopefully will grow in many parts of NZ, but probably not in the Dunedin area unfortunately). Stefan will share from his experiences converting a commercial apple orchard into a fully-fledged commercial Permaculture Orchard.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and educators of students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Each show begins with one of the children, either Nick or Sally, posing a question about the natural world.
This is a great time to take a trip of your own virtual trip on the Thinga-ma-jigger to learn about the amazing method that pinetrees have developed to protect their seeds during harsh weather conditions.
If your pine cones have open scales (like ours did), gently pull a few off (an adult's job). Check back about 15 minutes later, and you'll notice that the pine cones appear to be closing up. To protect the seeds from drowning in the wet ground before they have a chance to grow, the pinecone closes its scales up tight, keeping the seeds safe inside.
Please consider updating your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Natural mulch makes planting areas less attractive to animals that want to dig, while also providing some acidity to the planting beds in areas with more alkaline soil.
Just spread some peanut butter or suet on a pine cone and roll it in bird seed, oats, or sunflower seeds.
Just slip a handwritten place card into each cone’s scales, or follow the example above and ornament your table settings with a wintery woodland touch.
Once you know how to grow pine nuts, you can store seeds for up to a year for your family’s use.
Pine nut harvesting is an arduous process and adds to the hefty price tag fetched by most producers of the seeds. When growing pine nuts, choose a variety of pine with large enough seeds to easily harvest and a tree that is adaptable to your region. This isn’t a quick commitment, obviously, as you will have to care for the tree for many years before you can expect to be harvesting nuts. Adding organic matter to the planting site and ensuring good drainage will promote a faster growing tree that will produce more nuts.
Cone production is influenced by climate and weather, and each cone may only contain 35 to 50 seeds. Depending upon the height of your tree, this may pose the biggest problem in pine nut production.
Frozen seeds last for months while the oil rich toasted seeds should be used within a couple of weeks to prevent oil from turning rancid and ruining the flavor of the seed.
Traditionally, the nuts were additionally ground and made into a paste, which was eaten directly or cooked in hot coals to make bread. The Cole Clark company (also Australian) uses bunya for the majority of its acoustic guitar soundboards. We moved to a house with a wonderful Bunya, first I thought she was an Araucaria Araucana, our Mapuche local version. In distinguishing between tree species we use common or vernacular names and scientific names - genus and species. Observe the blade, stalk, margin, venation (veins), base , and upper and lower surfaces of each leaf.

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When the weather is sunny and the soil begins to dry, the pinecone opens its scales to release the seeds at a time when they have the best chance to grow. Like sea shells, pine cones are all slightly different in shape and size—and it’s hard to stop picking them up once you’ve started. Hang the feeder in your garden, and you’ll soon have wildlife to watch during the winter months. Pine cone fire starters make for a great hostess gift or a lovely decorative mantle display. Cinnamon sticks and scented oil are all you need to add to your pine cone collection for a house full of a robust, spicy aroma.
The traditional pine nut is the seed of stone pines, natives to the Old Country and not widely grown in North America.
As a backyard specimen, pine nut trees are strong, attractive, long-lived plants that add architectural appeal.
When cones are completely dry, give the bag a good whack to break open the cones and release the seed. The timber is valued by cabinet makers and woodworkers, and has been used for that purpose for over a century. The nut is considered nutritious, with a unique flavour similar to starchy potato and chestnut. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois).
From travelling north to visit reindeer and learn about what they eat and how they find food in the winter, to making friends with a spider and learning about it's web, kids learn to explore, question, and examine the world around them. Nature is amazing, and you do not even need to take a trip on a thinga-ma-jigger to find out about it. Whether put to practical or decorative use, here are five things you can do with pine cones. These tasty seeds are harvested from the tree’s cones and are just one of 20 species of edible pine nuts.
There are several American pine trees that are useful as nut trees, any of which can be purchased as 2- or 3-year plants or bigger, or may be sown from fresh seed. Most are hardy to United States Department of Agriculture zones 1 to 10, although the exact zone will depend upon the variety.
Numerous animal and bird species also find the seeds delicious and there will be fierce competition for the nuts.
If you have a chance, look at the pine cones under a magnifying glass to get a closer look.

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