Pecans bring to mind delicious pies and sweet dough, Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas candy. Just think how wonderful it would be if you could step outside and harvest your own pecans. You can grow pecan trees from the same nuts you use for cooking, provided they have not been roasted or shelled beforehand. Provide a site with a high water table (about 3 feet below the surface), mild winters (temperatures remain above 10 degrees F) and full sunlight for a successful pecan tree.
Collect your pecans on the day they fall from the tree or soon thereafter. Watch out for the squirrels that can be quick to grab the pecans and stash them away, as well as for insects that can get in the shells and eat the nut meats. Place the pecans into a bucket of water for 24 hours.
Moisten the sand by mixing equal parts water and sand. Fill the sealable container with about 1/2 an inch of moist sand.
Discard any nuts that float on the surface of the water as they were not properly pollinated and are worthless. Drain off the water and place the nuts on the layer of sand. Cover them with another 2 inches of the damp sand, pushing it down and around the pecans.
Cover the container and place it in the back of your vegetable drawer in your refrigerator. Label the container with the date you wish to remove the nuts from the refrigerator. Allow the nuts to rest undisturbed for the 120 days or 4 months, typically during the winter months.
Remove the moist pecans from the refrigerator and place them in potting soil in a regular 6-inch plant pot. Bury them about 2 inches down in the soil, and then water them to settle the soil in around the nut. Place the pot in a warm and sunny window, watering only enough to keep the soil damp.
Transplant the seedlings after the weather outside has warmed to be above freezing. The pecan seedlings will need protection during their first year of growth, but you can expect them to grow about 24 inches if they are getting enough sunlight and moisture.