Past Articles Library | How to Grow Peanuts
Have you ever wanted to try to grow your own peanuts but thought it was too complicated? Well, believe it or not, growing peanuts is really easy and fun to do. So continue reading to learn how to grow your peanuts.
The first thing you will need when you consider growing your own peanuts is the “seeds.” Yes, I said seeds. These can be found in several different seed catalogues. But did you know that you can also find viable peanuts at the grocery store? Well, you can but……..you need to make sure that they are raw, which means they are not boiled or roasted. Either one of these treatments will cause the “seeds” to be unviable.
Next, what are your choices in peanut seeds? There are four general types of peanuts. The first one is the Valencia. This peanut is ready to harvest in 95 to 100 days after planting. Each peanut hull will have three to six peanuts.
The Spanish peanut is one that produces small, rounded nuts. This particular type of peanut is drought tolerant and grows upright. Once planted, this peanut will need to be harvested around the 110 day mark.
Runners are a variety that is very popular in the southern states. As the name implies this type of peanut plant runs along the ground. This type of peanut plant produces medium nuts that come in pairs in the peanut hull. Runners need warm weather and a lot of moisture. Their harvest period is between 130 and 150 days after planting.
The last variety is the Virginia, which is the one that produces the largest peanuts. This peanut plant looks very much like a runner but the true difference is the size of the nut. Each peanut hull will contain two large peanuts. Once planted, the Virginia will need to be harvested between 130 and 150 days.
Ok, now that we know our choices lets learn how to plant peanuts. The first thing one will need to consider is where to plant peanuts. The best situation is to plant peanuts in a sandy, well-draining soil that is not rocky for at least 18 inches. Well, this sounds really good but in the really world, you normally do not find that perfect location. The key is to make sure that the soil is well-draining and that your growing season is long enough for the mature growing date of the variety you have chosen.
On the other hand, if you find that you have a clayey soil that is well-draining, go ahead and plant your peanut seeds. Well-draining, clayey soils can handle the peanuts but the clayey nature will stick to the hulls of the peanut and scar it. If you are growing them just for yourself, this is fine since the nut inside is not harmed.
The next thing you will need to consider is the past of your garden space. Peanuts do not do well in certain crop rotations. What does this mean, well if potatoes or beans had been planted in the soil in the past; do not plant your peanuts in that same soil. The reason being is that potatoes and beans share many of the same plant diseases, which means your peanuts have a good chance of catching the plant diseases from your spent potatoes and beans.
Now that we have the location selected, the next step is to find out the pH of the soil. Peanuts pretty much take care of themselves as far as nutrition goes but they do need a few micronutrients, which includes boron, zinc, and few others. This biggest thing that peanut plants need is calcium. This is where the pH comes in. While peanuts love a pH 5.8 to 6.5, if the soil is too acidic a lime will need to be applied. On the other hand, gypsum is fine for any other pH level. How much do you apply? Well, the general rate is 15 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
When it comes to the fertilizer though, do not just throw it on the ground. To get the most out of your fertilizer make sure to incorporate it into the soil. But if you do not want to go to the expense of the fertilizer, add a good amount of well-seasoned, compost or manure to the soil and mix it in prior to planting.
Planting your peanuts should only occur three weeks after your local frost free date and once the soil has reached above 60 degrees Fahrenheit for several days. After the environmental conditions are right, the next step is to prepare the soil. Gently loosen the soil several inches deep and add the micronutrients and calcium to the soil.
The day before you plan on planting your peanut seeds, soak them in water. This will speed up the germination rate and make the germination more uniform.
Once the peanuts seeds have been soaked, the next step is to plant the seeds. Peanuts need to be placed in the ground just shy of 2 inches deep. Continue planting your peanut seeds so that they are 4 to 6 inches apart and in rows that are 36 inches apart.
In a week, your peanuts seedlings will appear. To give them a little boast, give them a little bit of organic nitrogen fertilizer.
To help control weeds, consider spreading a good layer of mulch in between the rows but avoid getting any mulch hilled up around the plants.
As far as watering goes, the peanut seedlings will need to receive 1 or 2 good, deep watering a week. This is especially true during the 50 to 100 day growing mark. Do not let your peanut seedlings guide your watering. While peanuts can tolerate the heat, many will droop in the midday sun. This does not necessarily mean they need to be watered.
If you planted in a clayey soil, always use your finger to test the soil moisture. This is easily done by sticking your finger down in the soil to the palm level. Pull your finger directly up. If your finger comes out clean then you need to water. If your finger comes out muddy then you do not need to water. When in doubt, do not water. Excessive watering can cause the mature nuts to sprout inside the hull, which is something you do not want.
Now that you have your peanuts planted, how do you know when to harvest. If you see the vegetation begin to turn yellow, it is time to harvest the peanuts. On the other hand, if the plants are still green, dig a few to test the crop so to speak and then continue accordingly.