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Last Updated on:  12/16/2015 04:00 PM


Growing Peanuts

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 own nitrogen.
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.

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