|Where to buy Peanuts: Peanut
seeds can be purchased mail order or buy raw peanuts at the grocery store.
Where to Plant: Plant peanuts in full sun.
Peanuts grow best in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. A sandy-loamy soil
is best. Double-dig and add gypsum and aged compost. The soil must be loose so that the
pegs can penetrate and grow. Peanuts prefer a soil pH of 5.8 to 6.2.
|How to Plant: Plant shelled
seeds between 2–4 in. deep, 6–12 in. apart, in rows 30–36 in. apart, thinning to 12 in.
Some say to plant in hills, (3 seeds per hill). Peanuts can be planted, shell and
all. However hulling first may hastens growth. NOTE: The seed will not germinate
if the red skin on the nut is torn. Large nuts and/or large seeds are best for rapid
growth and high yield.
|When to Plant: Generally it
is best to plant a month after last frost once soil has warmed up. Peanuts do transplant
well. They can be started indoors 3–4 weeks prior to the last frost.
Peanuts grow slowly at first, so keep the seedlings
well weeded. A useful technique is to inter-plant with a fast-maturing weed-suppressing
crop (radishes, green onions, lettuce, cilantro) that will be harvested before the
peanut plants grow large enough to need the space.
Peanuts require 110–140 days of hot weather and ample
rainfall to yield a good crop.
When the plants are 12 inches tall, mound earth up
around the base of the plant as you would with potatoes, and mulch between the rows.
Mounding allows the faded flowers to set pegs down into the hill.
Cultivating: When the peanut plant is 12 inches tall, hill the
soil around each plant. As the branches grow, the lower leaves drop off
and a peduncle appears. As it grows it will force its way into the mounded soil a peanut
pod is formed. Hill the plants to get more produce.
After the plants have been properly hilled, mulch between the plants
with at least eight inches of straw or grass clippings. The decaying material will not
only keep down weeds, but, each time it rains, juices will be carried down to the hungry
roots. Thin the plants to about ten inches apart.
Water and feeding: Peanuts prefer
regular, even watering. Keep the soil moist until the plants begin to flower, then water
less. Once plants are established, allow the soil to dry between watering. Empty pods,
sometimes called “blind” pods, are the result of too much rain or humidity at flowering
time. Prepare planting beds with aged compost; peanuts, like other legumes, supply their
|Care: Mulch around
peanuts to keep the soil surface from crusting and becoming hard; this will allow pegs
to penetrate the soil. Keep the planting beds weed free and cultivate lightly to keep
the soil loose. Mulching around peanuts will make harvesting easier.
|Harvest: When the plant stems
begin to turn yellow, it’s time to harvest. Harvest during a dry spell in October or
right after a light frost. (In the Deep South, peanuts may need to get harvested earlier
to keep pods from sprouting in cold/wet soil late in the season.) Peanuts will be ready
for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and begin to wither, usually 120 to 150 days
after planting. Warning: 1-Don't harvest while the soil is wet. 2-Don’t wait
too long to harvest or your peanuts will start sprouting.
Lift pods with a garden fork, pulling up the whole
plant. If weather permits, flip it and let them sun-dry for a few days. (If
rain is in the forecast, bring your plants into a shed or garage.) As an
alternative, they can be cured indoors for 2–3 weeks before storing. In either
case, simply shake away loose soil and hang the whole plant to dry. Seeds can be removed
when the hulls are completely dry.
Storing and preserving. Raw, unshelled
peanuts can be kept in a dry, dark, well-ventilated place for up to 3 months. Dried
shelled peanuts can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months. Shelled peanuts
can be sprouted, frozen, or used for peanut butter, or roasted for snacks.
|Roasting Peanuts: Simply spreading your peanuts on a cookie sheet
and bake them at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they
roast evenly. You can add a sprinkle of salt over them if you wish.
|Peanut Butter Recipe: Blend 2 cups roasted peanuts + 2 two
teaspoons of vegetable or peanut oil in a food processor for three or four minutes.
Select "chop" or something similar. Add honey to taste. For chunky peanut
butter simply toss in chopped roasted peanuts.
|Note: Peanuts, for planting, are
generally sold in the shell to preserve seed freshness. It is recommended to shell
out the seeds for planting. Don't remove the Paper-Coating on the seeds.