Survival Pine Nut Harvesting

Imagine you could eat 3.5 ounces of something and get 28% of your daily protein, 30% of your calcium, 17% of your potassium, 14% of your daily fibre and 62% of your magnesium requirement. Oh, and also 670 energy supplying calories. Bonus: you get to pick it off a tree, which will continue supplying this bounty for the next 25 years or more.

The Korean Pine is the most popular pine nut species beign grown in northern areas of the US and Canada and produces the largest nut.

Pine nuts can do this for you. In all there are about twelve useful nut producing pine trees found across Asia, Siberia, Europe and in the Southern United States. While all of the 100+ pine trees found around the world produce seeds, approximately 20 species produce nuts large enough for collecting however, as I mentioned above, only about 12 are important nut producers.

In the US nut collecting from native species is done exclusively with pinyon pines. The bulk of commercial pine nuts sold are collected in the wild.

In the northern sections of North America pine nuts are collected from imported varieties, with the Korean species, Pinus koraiensis, probably being the most popular because of the size of it’s nut. The Korean Pine can be grown in Zones 2-9, so it is extremely tolerant of cold climates.

You can find a great round up of the various species of pine nut trees typically available for purchase here on Rhora’s Nut Trees web page.

For a great round up on pinyon pines and harvesting their nuts try this article by Hank Shaw.

Pinyon Pine Nuts

Pinyon pines are slow growing so the likelihood of you harvesting from your own tree are slight. However, if you are on property you expect to stay on for a few years, you might want to consider starting some Korean Pine. As mentioned on the Rhora’s site, hybrids are now becoming available which can bear fruit in as little as 6 years, and they bear nuts that are up to 30% larger than non-hybrid types.

If you are establishing a homestead, whether rural or urban, you should consider planting some of these trees.  They do reach a considerable size, but so do the pine and spruce that I see growing beside many a suburban ranch style home around town. And if you have a couple of acres, not only are you able to provide a tasty and nutritious product for your family, you could also be creating a small supplemental income. Pine nuts are selling for up to $40.00 a pound. At a farmers market, where you can advertise “locally produced,” and offer 4 oz packages, you could be making a lot more than that.

Pine nut trees are definitely multi purpose, providing shade, wind protection and landscape interest as well as a tasty and nutritious food product. They fit in perfectly with the Survival Harvesting principle of work once, harvest many.

I’ve dropped the nutrition table I gleaned the opening paragraph information from down below. Consider pine nuts. Remember, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.

Pine Nut Nutrition Table




Harvesting Forest Grown Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms growing wild in a woodlot

I like the idea of working once and reaping benefits for an extended period of time. That is why mushrooms are appealing. Whether you find them in the wild or on your property, you can expect to see them popping up again in more or less the same place year after year. Search once, reap many.

Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms present you with a similar situation when you cultivate them yourself. If you have a little bit of space in your backyard, or a small bush lot, you can inoculate some hardwood logs and expect to reap a mushroom harvest for 3-4 years.

I am not going to go into the details of hunting for and picking wild mushrooms. There are a ton of varieties and sometimes the differences between toxic and okay to eat are subtle. I will provide a couple of guides. The Canadian one is suitable for a lot of the US, from the east coast to the west. Of course, the Eastern Forests guide is as titled.

Here is a 346 page guide to the edible and poisonous mushrooms of Canada.

Here’s one for the Eastern US forests.

I had a lot more trouble finding a large, comprehensive guide to US mushrooms than Canadian. Since there are a ton of agricultural research stations, university agricultural extension services and local groups, I suggest you try a Google search with your location and “wild mushroom education” in the search field. I tried it with “ohio wild mushroom identification” and got lots of results. Try a similar search and add the words “guide” or “class.” I am sure you will find something useful and worth your time.

What I want to focus on in this post is raising edible Oyster and Lions Mane mushrooms. These are two of the easier ones to cultivate. And I want to focus on doing it out of doors using logs.

Basically you need to find the right type of logs, fresh enough cut that they are still holding ample moisture. You have to inoculate them with mushroom spawn and place them in the right locations, or so arranged that they get the right amount of shade. Depending on the weather you may need to water the logs periodically. But essentially you walk away.

You maximize harvest by creating the right kind of log environment and using the spawn efficiently. In the wild, mushroom spawn may find the right environment to reproduce or it may not. If it does, it may be in competition with the spores from some other type of fungi. If there isn’t ample shade, then as the seasons progress, it may get too much sunlight. If there is an extended dry spell, then the small struggling mushroom may just dry up and blow away. By lending a hand to Mother Nature, we help ensure survival, and many meals for the future.

Oyster mushrooms in an efficient, prolific way, from the Cornell U Cooperative Extension

One of the simplest ways to get a harvest of mushrooms is to use the Oyster mushroom Totem Method of cultivation. Click on the picture to get a concise two page explanation of the complete process.

The same method can be used for Lions Mane. Select fresh logs about 2 feet long and around a foot thick that were cut before the trees leafed out. Keep your cuts at right angles to the length because you are going to stack the pieces on top of each other.

Cut the logs in half again (about a foot long) and slice a 2″ disk from the outer end of one of them. Put a sharpie mark on the logs where the cuts are going to go so that you can put the pieces back together as exactly as possible. This will make secure stacking more likely.

Placement of log sections and spawn for Oyster Mushroom production

Put a piece of cardboard on the ground to keep the wood from being contaminated by native fungi and put some spawn on the cardboard. Now stack the longer  piece of log on the cardboard. Put more spawn on the upper end of this piece and stack the 10″ section on top of it, lining up the marks. Place more spawn on the upper surface of the second piece and then top it off with the two inch disk.

Cover the whole structure with the kind of brown paper bag used for garden waste and loosely tie it in place. The bag will waste away but you can remove it in six months or so if you wish. You want your logs to be well shaded so that your log sections don’t dry out too much. If your logs are surrounded by evergreens you can be sure they will receive shade summer and winter. All you have to do is check back in the fall or the next year and start picking. This type of setup will continue to produce for up to four years.

Shiitake mushrooms are a little more complicated, but not much. I will examine how to grow your own supply of Shiitakes in another post.


Survival Information Resources Harvesting

Being prepared for survival means being knowledgeable and having access to survival information

A little something different for today’s post. If you are trying to increase your chances of survival or self-sufficiency, you are going to need to learn a ton of stuff.

Whether you learn it now, or take it step by step once you have the need depends on your time and resources. A strong case can be made for getting your food, water, shelter and energy preps in place before working on self-sufficiency. That way you are covered for low risk, high frequency disasters (like a job loss or extended health emergency), moderate risk and moderate frequency disasters (like hurricanes, winter storms and power loss) and even higher risk low frequency disasters (like a pandemic, or extended grid down situation).

The amount of food, water, energy and shelter you have available determines how well you will be able to cope. More preps means longer coping ability. But the more self-sufficiency you can arrange for today, the better prepared you are for all contingencies. And generally, the more self-sufficient, the lower your cost of living, so the more flexibility you have even if nothing happens.

Whatever your situation, or inclination in terms of how you prepare for life’s surprises, I am pretty sure you will find something here to engage your interest and help you achieve whatever your aim is.  Below is a list of  downloadable documents (PDF format) that address the following:

Energy – Efficient Wood Stove, Paul Wheaton’s Rocket Mass Heater

Food Resources – Nuts and Nut Trees, Integrated Farm Design, Tree Crops, Mushrooms -Shiitake/Oyster/Wild Edible, Microgreens, Aquaculture, Small Game Traps, Bird Harvesting, Fish Traps,

Bushcraft – Ropes and Cords, Huts and Thatching, Food and Water, Firemaking etc. Making Traps, Snares and Deadfalls, Camp Life

All of these items are available as free downloads as of the time of writing. No guarantees. You know how the internet is. If you find a broken link, let me know and I will find an alternate source or find something as good to replace it with.

Hope you enjoy going through these documents. There is a lot to learn. I am working on preparing more pages like this. Check back periodically and look under the category of “Information Resources.”


High efficiency cook stove uses twigs and small pieces of wood


Construction Manual for the Firewood Saving Household Stoves


Paul Wheatons Rocket Stove Mass Heater

Tree Crops

Nuts, fruit, berries, and inner bark are some of the tree parts you can eat

Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture

Nuts and Nut Trees



Farm Design
A Manual on Integrated Farming System

Growing Wild Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushroom Production on Logs
Growing Shiitake Mushrooms




Microgreens provide high nutrient levels, easy to grow, quick production ,,,whats not to like



Growing Microgreens and Baby Greens for Home Use
Guidelines for Growing Microgreens




Rabbits being driven along 2 miles of wings that converge into the final 100 foot diameter corral.

Game Drives



Small Game

More Than a Rat Trap

Bird Traps

.Propagation of Aquatic Game Birds
Dove Trap
Wild Bird Capture Techniques


Plants and fish in a low cost, easy to build setup

Small Scale Aquaponic Food Production



How to Make Various Types of Traps and Pots


Snares tend to be more effective than other types of traps because you can set many of them quickly

Deadfalls and Snares A.R. Harding
How To Make It: Rabbit Trap is Easy to Build
Rappahannock Taking Devices: Traps, Hunting and Fishing


The Ten Bushcraft Books of Robert Graves
Camp Life in the Woods – Tricks of Trapping – Trap Making