Where would the world be without peanuts? They are so popular that we doubt that the culinary universe would be the same. Knowing how to grow peanuts should be an absolute necessity as we eat them in practically everything – sandwiches, salads, sauces, desserts. Raw peanuts are roasted, boiled, mashed and converted to oil. They are everywhere!
For such a popular meal, the peanut plant is somewhat underrepresented in the home garden. It's a shame because it's really easy to grow. If you plant peanuts in your garden, you can not only make delicious homemade peanut butter, but also participate in the long history of peanut growing.
When we say long, we're serious. The domesticated peanut plant is about 5-6,000 years old and dates from at least 3000 BC. It slowly came from Central and South America around the world, where it was used for food, folk medicine and goods such as fabrics. Its popularity increased not only because of its delicious taste, but also because of its agricultural use.
The peanut plant adds nitrogen to the soil and is therefore ideal for efficient and sustainable cultivation. In the United States, peanut crops were considered more preferred than cotton. This idea was promoted in the 1920s and 30s by George Washington Carver, an African American farmer. He even made a list of over 300 products that can be made from peanuts, many of which he invented. This list ranges from food to cosmetics to gasoline. Today Carver is often considered the father of the modern peanut industry.
Since then, peanuts have become an important part of US history. They became a popular crop in the southern United States. This increased particularly when Jimmy Carter, a former peanut farmer, became president. Most peanuts in the world are now made in China, but you can still grow them in your garden. To help you get started, we will tell you everything we know about peanuts: how to grow, harvest and even feast on them.
Good products for growing peanuts:
Brief instructions on care
Learning to grow peanuts is fun and fun! Source: Danielgroup
|Common Name (s)||Peanut, peanut, grass nut, goober, monkey nut|
|Scientific name||Arachis hypogaea|
|Days to harvest||80-150 days|
|ground||Light, well-drained, rich in calcium|
|fertilizer||Low nitrogen content|
|Diseases||Leaf spot, mildew|
Everything about peanuts
As you can guess from the name, peanuts belong to the pea family. However, you are not crazy. Arachis hypogaea is actually a legume, making it more closely related to soybeans than pecans. The plants native to South and Central America love the warm weather and have a long growing season. For this reason, they must be grown as an annual in most of the United States, which is the usual cultivation practice.
We are sure you know what peanuts look like, but what does the plant add to the aesthetics of your garden? It's actually a fairly generic looking plant, at least above the ground. Bushy, light green leaves grow near the ground. Each plant typically only reaches 1-1.5 feet tall.
How a peanut grows is pretty interesting. From July to September the plant grows yellow and orange flowers. As soon as a flower is pollinated, a stem grows out of it, which is called a peg. It sinks down and buries itself in the ground. Through them the fertilized egg cells move from the flower to the ground and develop into pods, each containing 1-3 seeds (the peanuts). This method of cultivation, called geocarpy, sounds unique, but there are actually a few hundred legumes that develop in this way.
Because the peanut seeds grow underground, they are called peanuts or peanuts. You can also call them grass nuts or goobers. In Britain, they are even called monkey nuts, a term used by zoo visitors who feed peanuts to the monkeys.
Whole shelled peanuts are a popular snack food source: John and Anni
Peanuts are sorted into groups of varieties. Everyone has something different to put on the table so you have a good choice to choose from.
The Runner group is most popular among commercial growers due to its uniform seeds and high yield. The plants are somewhat wine-like and take up more horizontal space than the others (about 3.5 feet). So make sure you plant the seeds a few inches apart. You can thank this strain for your sandwiches, as 54% of these runner plants are used to make peanut butter.
Spanish group Peanuts have the highest oil content, so of course they are used for peanut oil production. These varieties are also common in sweets and mixed nuts. Some of these strains only take 90 days to grow seeds. Therefore, they are a good choice if you live in a cold climate.
You can also find early varieties in the Valencia group. These peanuts are most common in the home garden due to their short growing time. The seeds have a pretty, red skin and are said to taste the sweetest. They are usually prepared by roasting, but are also good as cooked peanuts.
The Virginia group has the largest seeds and is more on the gourmet side of things. They have a long growing season, some need 150 days to ripen. Virginias, however, typically have great yield and taste. The plant itself can be bushy or run, producing pods that are 2 inches long (or more!).
After planting, the peanut sprouts into a thick sprout. Source: John and Anni
Because they require such a long growing season, you need to take precautions if you live in the north. Choose an early variety of peanuts to plant and start indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. You want to get your peanut seeds from a supplier or save your own. While you can plant peanuts from the foods you eat, this is not a very reliable method.
Plant outdoors 3 weeks after the last frost, whether it is a transplant or direct sowing. The floor must be at least 60 ° F at this point. Bury the seeds 1 – 2 cm deep and 24 – 36 cm apart. When planting rows, place them at least 30 cm apart. Plant the peanut with or without a shell, as long as each seed still has a paper-like shell that may be required for germination. Optionally, you can soak the seeds overnight to speed up germination. Germination only takes about a week, after which the peanuts grow slowly.
It is recommended to add mulch to the soil once the seedlings are half a foot tall. This helps trap moisture and keep the weeds under control. When adding, try to gently loosen the soil around the plants so that the pens can penetrate it more easily.
Once planted, depending on the variety, it takes 100-150 days to harvest. You can expect to see flowers in 6-8 weeks, after which you can watch the extraordinary growth process!
After germination, the young plants quickly develop foliage. Source: John and Anni
We know everything about them, but how do I grow peanuts? Caring for peanut plants is surprisingly easy and we are sure you will enjoy it!
Sun and temperature
Peanut plants love a lot of sunlight and a long, warm growing season – no wonder they grow so well in the southeast! These plants grow in zones 2-11, but the further south you are, the better your harvest will be.
Ideally, the temperature should be around 85 ° F. The plant is sensitive to the cold and needs 120 consecutive frost-free days to grow. Temperatures above 95 ° F can damage the flowers. Therefore, give shade if necessary.
Water and moisture
It doesn't seem that way, but peanut growing requires a fair amount of water, at least 1 inch a week. The soil should never dry out, especially during or after flowering. Depending on where you live, you may need to water every day. At least you should give your plants a good long bath once a week.
On the other hand, these are legumes, not water lilies. You shouldn't drown in the ground. Maintain a steady and even level of moisture, but don't let damp, muddy conditions arise. A watering hose is extremely useful because it slowly distributes the water over the intended area.
When the leaves of the peanut plant turn yellow at harvest time, stop watering completely so the seeds don't sprout. A little moisture doesn't harm the plant, but dry conditions are best.
Since they eat water, you need well-drained soil for your peanut plants. Choose a growth medium that is light and loamy with lots of organic matter. To give it an extra boost, add some well-composted manure. For best results, the soil should be slightly acidic and have a pH of 5.5 to 7.0.
As George Washington Carver taught long ago, peanut plants are nitrogen fixers, which means that they return nitrogen to the soil. For this reason, they do not need as much nitrogen as other plants. Use a low-nitrogen or balanced fertilizer that works well into the soil. Peanut growth can be burned by fertilizers. Therefore, apply it before planting.
For peanuts, calcium is the most important nutrient to focus on. Peanuts absorb most of their calcium directly from the pods instead of their roots. So if calcium deficiency occurs, pod development is directly affected. They can rot and not develop seeds well or not at all. For this reason, calcium must be present in the soil when the pods start to grow. Make sure you change your soil well before planting.
Pruning is not a must when growing peanuts, but may be necessary from time to time. You can cut the stems back if they get tangled or exceed their limits, especially with runner types. You also want to remove any diseased parts to prevent the spread of the infection.
Since the peanut plant is usually grown annually, it is only propagated by seeds. You can easily save your own seeds after harvesting peanuts. Let them dry, raw and in their shells. Store them in a dry, ventilated place in a mesh bag. Plant peanuts the following spring for best results.
When choosing the seeds to store, choose only healthy, ripe ones. If they have an illness, it could spread to the floor or to the next generation. If you have concerns that disease has occurred in your soil, buy new seeds instead of storing your own.
Peanut plants are self-pollinating, but there is still a chance that the next harvest will not be of the right type. Try planting all types of peanut plants to ensure that cross-pollination does not cause the plants to produce hybridized seeds.
Harvest and store
When harvesting peanuts, the entire plant is removed from the ground. Source: John and Anni
Harvesting peanuts is a simple but long process – but it's worth it! With a little patience, you will soon be eating some home-grown seeds.
When the leaves turn yellow, you can start harvesting peanuts from late summer to early autumn. The easiest way to tell from the pods is whether they are ripe. But you don't want to dig them all out if you're not sure they're ripe. Dig up a few pods instead. Break them open and examine the peanuts. You should fill almost the entire bowl, which is dark inside (depending on the variety).
If the leaves or pods fall off the plants, you need to harvest immediately. If you put it off too long, the pods will start to sprout.
To harvest, carefully loosen the soil around the plant and pull it up. Shake off loose dirt and collect peeled peels. After digging out, let the entire plant dry out either hanging or on a flat surface. Keep it dry for at least 1-3 weeks and protected from direct sunlight. After drying, pull the pods free and dry them for another 1-2 weeks. After that, you can use them as you like!
Peanuts can be eaten raw, although they are usually cooked. You can store them raw in their trays for several months as long as you do this correctly. Otherwise, your hard-earned Goobers could get mold. You need good air circulation. Therefore, store them in a mesh bag in a dry place. Place them so that rodents cannot reach them.
Roasting peanuts is a popular and tasty way to eat them. Simply put the peeled seeds in the oven at 350 ° F for 15-20 minutes. You can also roast it with the bowl as long as it is completely intact. Simply add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time. They keep in the fridge for about 6 months and in the freezer for a whole year. Once roasted, you can simply eat the peanuts or in a recipe.
You can also cook your crop, especially if it was picked too early. Cover them in a saucepan with a little water, add a little salt and cook for three hours, stirring occasionally. Eat cooked peanuts within a week or freeze them for 6-12 months.
Peanut plants can be exposed to mildew. Source: Goosmurf
Fortunately, peanuts are not troublemakers. Although there is always a possibility that problems will arise, these plants are usually problem-free.
If the peanut of your plant Seeds don't grow and develop wellit will most likely need more calcium. If you have already harvested or stopped watering, there is not much to do other than better prepare for the next year. Apply calcium directly to the ground when the flowers appear so that there is enough available when the seeds start to grow.
If you have a peanut pest problem, it is most likely Aphids. These tiny green insects feed on plant sap. Only one of them doesn't seem to be a problem, but aphid infestation can quickly weaken your plants and expose them to disease. Insecticidal soap is very effective against these pests, as are predators like lacewings and ladybugs. Keep them away with diatomaceous earth, neem oil, or even a good jet of water.
Thrips are also a potential threat when growing peanuts. These evil beetles are small, long and dark. Like aphids, they drain plant sap and spread diseases. Thrip populations can quickly get out of control, so you need to act as soon as possible. You can use insecticidal soap and neem oil, just like aphids. A pyrethrin spray should suffice for large infestations. Diatomaceous earth, lacewings and ladybugs are also good solutions.
Sooner or later leaf stain is exactly what it sounds like: stains on the leaves. It is a fungal growth that shows up as dark, circular spots. It is particularly caused by heat and moisture. So try to keep your peanuts as dry as possible. If left untreated, this disease can cause leaf waste, which can lead to reduced yield. Choose resistant strains and rotate your plants to prevent this disease. Fungicide can control it, but it can further damage peanuts. So try to avoid it if possible.
mildew is not uncommon with peanuts. This initially shows up as whitish spots on the surfaces of leaves that have a powdery texture. The places where powdery mildew occurs later become necrotic. Fungicides based on neem oil or copper can eliminate this fungal growth.
frequently asked Questions
Peanut farms have huge fields of bright green foliage. Source: Goosmurf
Q: How many peanuts do you get from a plant?
A: This depends on the variety of growing peanuts, but you can usually expect around 25-50 peanuts per plant.
Q: Can you grow peanuts indoors?
A: Yes, as long as they have a large container and lots of sunlight, peanuts are excellent potted plants.
Q: Is it OK to eat raw peanuts?
A: Yes! Once you're done harvesting, you can have a snack.
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