So I am part of a group of people who are bringing in a bunch of hybrid hazelnuts for trials here in Alberta. 500 of the darling plants are bound for our place near Carstairs, and since our property is currently leased out for another 2 years I had to figure out where to stick them. Our renter is a grain and canola farmer with a big tractor, and he was happy to give up part of this funny finger of land he works (mostly for weed control). Apparently it is a giant pain in the butt to turn his equipment around in.

It is about an acre or so, which is probably more than I can handle this year what with starting up a CSA and urban market gardening, but I do so love a lot of things on the go. It is also a good chance to take a crack at this keyline/permaculture/regrarian/restoration agriculture thing on a smaller scale.

The area isn’t particularly grand for keyline – it’s a flatish area that is a very subtle ridge, so I marked out a keyline to work from that is fairly arbitrary. It is patterned off of the ridge flood irrigation cultivation technique, the swales are at about a 0.75/100 slope so water should trickle towards the ridge. The edges to the south are designed for extension later should that be appropriate.

Crops for this paddock are: hazelnuts, apples, pears, raspberries, hardy kiwi, and forage (probably to be harvested by cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry). My napkin calculations put the food caloric output at around 3,500,000 kcal per year, or enough to meet the caloric needs of 5 people. It will really depend on the hazelnuts, if they perform well that number could double.

Hazelnut Paddock One
A general plan for a hazelnut trial paddock, 1 acre in size including headlands.

2 thoughts to “The Hazelnuts Cometh

  • Terri Iverson

    Impressive. I had no idea you’d gone that far. I hope it all works well.

    • Marcus Riedner

      Yeah, us too. The hazelnuts should do good in Alberta (we have a native one here) but it is always a guessing game with the chinook winds.


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