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Growing Pistachios in the Rocky Mountains at 4500' elevation Without Irrigation

 
Morgan Bowen
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From Logan Utah Pistachios are grown at 4500' elevation without irrigation or any other inputs. These trees were planted by Iranian students in the mid-1970's and have thrived ever since.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Morgan Bowen wrote:http://youtu.be/VQg0Bt3jn7M

From Logan Utah Pistachios are grown at 4500' elevation without irrigation or any other inputs. These trees were planted by Iranian students in the mid-1970's and have thrived ever since.


The pistachios in this photo are from that tree. The story goes that the Iranian students that planted the trees put them on a south facing hill because it most closely matched the conditions where they were growing back home. The actual elevation of this tree is 4800 feet. It's growing on a hill 300 feet higher than the center of town, which I suspect helps it to avoid the frost pockets that settle into the bottom of the valley.



A year ago I harvested seeds from the children of that tree. An orchard I work at has grandchildren of this tree growing already. They are still young and not producing a third generations of nuts yet. We are growing them with irrigation. These trees are also growing on a hillside, at 4600 feet elevation, about 400 feet higher than the valley floor.

The following image, courtesy of GoogleEarth, shows the 2nd generation pistachio orchard. The third generation orchard is nearby.



 
Miles Flansburg
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Nice! What do you think the limits of their range is? I have property at 7800 feet in Wyoming. Sagebrush and grass to aspen and fur forest. Do you thing they would grow there? Where would I get some starts?
 
Bill Bradbury
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Are we getting a permies posse together here in Cache valley? AWESOME!!!

Miles Flansburg wrote:Nice! What do you think the limits of their range is? I have property at 7800 feet in Wyoming. Sagebrush and grass to aspen and fur forest. Do you thing they would grow there? Where would I get some starts?


Miles, I have included some of these pistachio seeds in your pile of stuff that I have yet to send. They grow here in our cold little valley because of the micro-climate that they were planted into. My best friend's wife runs the biology greenhouse on campus, so I thought I was one of the few in the know about these fabulous trees, but I am obviously mistaken. My wife has some photos, but she's out of town on research.
 
Morgan Bowen
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Great information on the 2nd and 3rd generation of these trees. Is there anyone doing nursury stock from these trees? If you know the property owner of this 2nd gen orchard could you set up an apointment so I could film an up date to the video? And yes, there is a CV posse. Several groups. I have had several meetings at our place, Rocky Mountain Permaculture, located at Living The Good Life Naturally just west of the library in logan at 253 N 100 W. We have done some movie nights and have some high profile and high traffic hugel beds as you drive out of the city complex parking lot. Excited to get to know you.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Pistachio seedlings were for sale at the farmer's market in Logan this spring. Like Bill said, I expect they are doing well because of the micro-climate that they got planted into.

More details about this orchard are at:

http://forestry.usu.edu/files/uploads/UFN/Summer12.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz-eZXmbMKI
 
Ann Torrence
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Oh Bill, pick me, pick me! please can I haz some pistachio seeds?
 
Bill Bradbury
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Ann Torrence wrote:Oh Bill, pick me, pick me! please can I haz some pistachio seeds?

but of course!
Morgan, you must be the one that gave my apprentice and his girlfriend hot chocolate! I'd love to stop by and chat sometime.
Joseph, it's great to have a resource like you; keep up the good work!
 
elle sagenev
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Good Lord. That is AMAZING. I want some I want some I want some I want some!!! I can add it to my almond, hazelnut, walnut, hickory, etc nut forest.
 
Michael Qulek
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Do you know what the students original source of seed was? I've been able to buy fresh pistachio fruit locally (so I assume it's Kermin), and found they are much easier to sprout than dried nuts. I now have about 10 5 year old seedlings in my own orchard/food forest. I'm at less than 5000 feet in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and although they are surviving, I am not exactly impressed with their hardiness. I've lost about 1/3 of the total to winter kill.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The story goes that Iranian students brought seeds from their homeland to plant the trees growing south of the USU campus.

Seeds to plant the Thatcher orchard included nuts collected in Uzbekistan.

 
Kelly Smith
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Great post - thank you for the info~

im at ~5300 ft altitude. 12ish inches of rainfall + irrigation and zone 5b. i would love to give a handful of these a try in my area.

Is there someone from Permies that has/can get/sells the seed?

 
Brian Rumsey
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This thread really caught my attention. Home grown pistachios? So tantalizing! To see that they survive winters in Utah gave this Kansan hope, and some further digging revealed a passage in J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops noting that they have been successfully grown just west of Wichita, in the same state where I am.

I would love to someday get ahold of some of the Utah plants/seeds, but in the meantime I am going to try some seeds intended for planting that I purchased on eBay from Turkey. Does anybody have germination tips? I didn't find all that much info online. Some info suggested a damp chill of a few weeks prior to planting. I've currently got a few seeds in warm moist soil, in pots under indoor heat. Also got a few in the fridge. I've got seed from two different sources -- one is bare kernels without the shell, and the other is in kernels. I'm assuming that these might not germinate exactly the same.
 
elle sagenev
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Brian Rumsey wrote:This thread really caught my attention. Home grown pistachios? So tantalizing! To see that they survive winters in Utah gave this Kansan hope, and some further digging revealed a passage in J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops noting that they have been successfully grown just west of Wichita, in the same state where I am.

I would love to someday get ahold of some of the Utah plants/seeds, but in the meantime I am going to try some seeds intended for planting that I purchased on eBay from Turkey. Does anybody have germination tips? I didn't find all that much info online. Some info suggested a damp chill of a few weeks prior to planting. I've currently got a few seeds in warm moist soil, in pots under indoor heat. Also got a few in the fridge. I've got seed from two different sources -- one is bare kernels without the shell, and the other is in kernels. I'm assuming that these might not germinate exactly the same.


Ha ha I did this exact thing. I got some germinated. Just follow my blog tips http://peacockorchard.com/2015/03/25/pistachio-experiment-germination/

I probably bought seeds from the same person you did. I did have a seed germinate. I may have had more germinate. Unfortunately one of the seed types they sent had worms in them. Little white worms that came out when the shell of the seed softened. So I cooked the whole thing to kill the worms.
 
Brian Rumsey
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Thanks for the feedback, elle -- I've bookmarked your page. I'm excited to hear about your progress since we're in the same boat.
 
elle sagenev
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Brian Rumsey wrote:Thanks for the feedback, elle -- I've bookmarked your page. I'm excited to hear about your progress since we're in the same boat.


Just make sure the whole thing is isolated. I bought my seeds off Ebay from someone from Turkey and worms....they had worms. But I also got this:
Pistachio Sprout 2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Pistachio Sprout 2.jpg]
 
Morgan Bowen
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This is my YouTube video on propagating the stash your trees from seed.
 
John Polk
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IMHO, Iranian pistachios are the best in the world.

The California ones are bigger, and look beautiful, but they certainly lack the flavor.
No comparison.

 
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