Plant Your Own Peanuts – How To Grow Peanuts
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By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
Did you know that you can plant your own peanuts at home? This hot-season crop is actually easy to grow in a home garden. Keep reading to learn how to grow peanuts in your garden.
How to Grow Peanuts
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) prefer a long, warm growing season and are typically planted from mid to late spring (after the threat of frost has past) through mid-summer. When you are growing peanuts, plant them in well-draining, sandy soil that is rich in organic matter such as leaves, compost or well-rotted manure. They also need to be planted in a sunny location.
Planting requirements vary somewhat among peanut varieties. There are bunch-type peanuts and runner-type peanuts.
Runner-type peanuts have a vining growth habit and require a little more space in the garden than their bunch-type counterparts. Three to five seeds are generally planted 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm.) deep, spacing 7 -8 inches (18-20 cm.) with rows at least 24 inches (61 cm.) apart.
The sowing of bunch-type, which includes Virginia varieties, is about 1 ½-2 inches (4-5 cm.) deep and 6-8 inches (15-20 cm.) apart.
Once seedlings have reached about six inches (15 cm.), a layer of mulch, such as straw, can be added to help keep weeds under control. Calcium is important for the growth and development of pods; therefore, adding gypsum to the soil once flowering begins may be necessary.
Weekly soaking to prevent the pods from drying out is also essential.
How Do Peanuts Grow?
Most peanuts flower about six to eight weeks after planting them. The flowers are produced near the ground on bunch plants and along the runners of vining types. While the plants flower above ground, however, the pods develop below. As the flowers fade, the stem begins bending downward, carrying the pods to the ground. Since peanuts bloom over a period of several weeks (up to three months), the pods mature at various intervals. Each pod yields two to three peanuts.
Most peanuts are ready to harvest anywhere from 120-150 days after planting, give or take. Harvesting peanuts usually takes place in late summer/early fall when foliage turns yellow. As peanuts mature, their hull color changes—from white or yellow to dark brown or black. You can test the maturity of peanuts by scraping the middle of the pods with a sharp knife. A dark brown to black hull means they’re ready to harvest.
Carefully dig up plants and shake off excess soil. Then dry the peanuts by hanging them upside down in a warm, dry area for about two to four weeks. Once dry, place them in mesh bags and store them in a well-ventilated area until ready for roasting. Boiled peanuts are best just after digging and prior to drying.
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The Complete Guide to Growing Peanuts in Your Garden
Although the peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is native to South America, it can be grown in several different climates. In fact, versatile peanut plants can withstand light autumn frosts and shorter springs. With the right conditions, you’ll be growing peanuts and harvesting armfuls of them no matter where you live. Read on to learn how!
Peanuts Make their Way to Northern Gardens
Peanuts have long been a popular backyard garden crop in the southern United States, much to the envy of northern gardeners. But since some garden seed catalogs make peanuts available all over the county, peanuts, also known as goober peas, are making their way north.
Peanuts do require a long, warm growing season of about 120 days. Bright yellow flowers begin to form about seven weeks after planting. After the flowers fade, a small peg is formed that grows downward until it enters the soil. The nuts then begin to form underground.
As the peanuts mature, the foliage will begin to turn yellow. Peanut plants flower throughout the season, so nuts at many different stages of development will be found on the plant at any given time. Because of this, there is unfortunately no one good time to harvest all of the plants. If plants are harvested late in the season, many of the early-formed pods may rot or sprout underground. But if plants are harvested early on, much of the production potential will be lost. It is best to aim for the middle and harvest as the plants begin to show signs of maturation.
Peanuts are harvested by carefully lifting the entire plant out of the ground the nuts should still be attached to the plant. The nuts need to be cured or dried before processing. Allow the nuts to air dry outdoors for several days while still in the shell. Nuts can be left attached to the plants for ease of handling. Then stack the plants and store in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area for two to three weeks. When fully dried, the peanuts can be stripped from the plants.
Nuts will keep longer in storage if left in the shell, unroasted and placed in a cool, dry area. Shelled nuts should be kept in the refrigerator to prolong their usefulness. The skins can be removed by boiling in water, a process called blanching, or by roasting in the oven.
Peanut pods are fruits that develop under ground.
- Choose a full sun receiving area for the peanut plant.
- When the peanut plants grow seven to eight inches high, loosen the soil around the plant. This will allow water to reach the roots of the plants easily and help in growth.
- When the peanut plant turns yellow, it becomes harvestable.
- Dig around the plant with Fork Hoe tools, loosen most of the soil. Then hang it in a dry place for about a month.
- These plants are sensitive to rot, so keep in mind where to plant it. Apply it after maize, wheat or any other small grain crop. It should never be planted after potatoes or beans, otherwise, it will host many diseases. If planting after any crop, seek information from the Horticulture Department.
- Peanuts are shallow around the plants. To remove the video by hand. Keep a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants to maintain moisture in the plant and to prevent weeds.
Choose a planting site that gets full sun.
Till your soil at least 6 inches deep the peanut fruit grows underground and thrives in loose, well-drained soil.
Work at least 1 to 2 inches of compost into the top 2 to 3 inches of soil using a shovel or hoe. In addition to helping the soil retain moisture, compost improves soil structure, making it easier for the fruit to grow.
Inoculate the peanut kernels just before planting, a process that exposes the peanuts to a nitrogen-fixing bacterium. Place them in a pan, adding just enough water to moisten the kernels, then sprinkle them with a commercially available powdered inoculant. This small step can pay big dividends in yield.
Plant peanut kernels when soil temperatures have reached at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Sow kernels 1½ to 2 inches deep, spaced 4 to 6 inches apart. Seedlings will emerge in roughly 10 days. Thin more mature plants to 18 inches apart.
Mulch around the plants to retain moisture and to keep the soil surface soft enough to allow the shoots to easily burrow into the soil. The peanuts eventually form on these shoots (called pegs), growing in the top 3 to 4 inches of soil.
Water regularly and deeply. Peanuts need 1½ to 2 inches of water every week to thrive.
Flowers develop in roughly 40 days. Once they wither, plants send shoots into the soil, and fruit development really gets underway.
Gardener: Yes, you can grow peanuts up north
2 of 3 Peanut isolated on white background Andrejs Stotiks Show More Show Less
Grow peanuts in your garden? Oh, you most certainly can and wait until your little green thumb sees just how a peanut grows!
Also known as ground nut, earth nut, goober pea, monkey nut, runner peanut, Spanish peanut, Valencia peanut, Virginia peanut (Arachis hypogaea) for short. A few of these nicknames may give a hint to how the peanut grows.
Native to South America, peanuts have been in cultivation for nearly 3,500 years. In their native habitat, they can often be found growing wild as "pioneer plants" — plants that appear in an area that has undergone change or disturbance in its soil through development, flooding, fire, etc.
A member of the pea family, the peanut is also a legume plant, which you may remember from biology means its roots are able to perform nitrogen-fixation (conversion of nitrogen in the air into plant and micro-organism friendly compounds below ground). Bottom line, they are able to improve the soil through this process, a great benefit especially after the area has been disturbed. All legumes will perform their duty far more efficiently if they are first inoculated with nitrogen fixing bacteria, which is sold at garden centers simply follow the directions on the packet for application.
There are four peanut varieties grown in the United States Virginia, Spanish, Valencia and runner. The first two are the best for shorter growing season. The "seeds" — which are actually the shelled, raw peanuts, not processed, roasted, salted or boiled — are available through mail order, garden centers and even at organic grocers.
Peanuts grow best in a sunny, well-drained, sandy-loam soil with a pH around 5.9 to 6.3, which is typical for a vegetable garden. To plant, space the seeds 12 to 15 inches apart and 1 to 1 ½ inches deep. Top-dress the row with a granular 5-10-10 fertilizer immediately after planting and then water thoroughly, repeating every few days thereafter, to ensure constant moisture throughout the growing season. A mature plant can reach over 15 inches in height and 36 inches in spread so avoid crowding when planting.
The way this plant grows is so cool. The clover-looking foliage emerges in about 10 days, and then about a month later small, yellow pea-like flowers begin to appear. At this point you'll want to do a midwest peanut farmer's trick and gently work in some gypsum around each plant at a rate of 6 pounds/100 square feet. Gypsum is calcium rich and is necessary for peanut development.
About two weeks after pollination and fertilization, the petals fall off leaving what is called a "peg." Here's where the coolness begins — this peg elongates and begins to bend downward to the soil, eventually penetrating the soil around the plant's roots. Once underground the tip of each peg begins to swell, developing into the pod (shell) that will eventually house the peanuts inside. If you've ever bought peanuts in the shell and noticed the tiny dried stem on one end, that's a piece of the peg.
Once these pegs penetrate the ground, be very careful when cultivating and weeding around the plants as you don't want to disturb the developing peanut. To help keep the weeds at bay and reduce soil moisture evaporation and maintain a more consistent soil temperature during the peanut formation, apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants.
Come late summer, the developing peanut will require more food energy and as a result the leaves will begin to yellow as the food is routed down under. Once the plant yellows completely, dig along the side of the plant and check a few pods they are ripe when the veins on the shell are raised and the inside of the hull is darkened. Harvest by digging, hanging and air drying the entire plant for 2 to 3 weeks. An average plant can produce up to 50 peanuts.
To roast, simply shell them, place in a shallow pan and bake in a 325-degree oven for about 20 minutes, then stir in enough butter to coat them, roast about 5 more minutes, remove and salt. Like fresh vegetables, fresh peanuts have a taste all their own.
Some fun facts you just need to know:
Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter were both peanut farmers.
Roughly 540 peanuts are needed to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
The secret to "Mr. Ed" the talking horse was none other than peanut butter.
Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth.
The Guinness World Record for peanut throwing is 111 feet, 10 inches.
The largest peanut ever grown was 4 inches long.