Despite not being a top plant to have in a home garden, growing peanuts are surprisingly easy. Knowing how to grow peanuts will give you a fresh supply of snacks, or perfect ingredients to make peanut butter and various dishes.
You must have enough place in your garden or yard since the peanut plant is not too suitable for pots. Interested? This guide will help you planting peanuts successfully.
1. Common Types of Peanuts to Grow
Peanuts, which are members of the legume family, come in numerous varieties. However, the most common types of peanuts consist of “the big four,” which are:
Virginia peanuts are the most common types of peanuts. They are suitable for processing without taking out the kernels from the shells. Virginia peanuts also have large kernels that look pale before processing. This variety originated from North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina.
Valencia peanuts are smaller than Virginia, with redder and darker outer skin. One shell usually yields three kernels, compared to Virginia that only yields two. Valencia can be processed in the shells or peeled. This peanut variety is planted in the warm areas of New Mexico.
The runner is a popular type for peanut butter, because it yields abundant, large kernels. The outer skin is light brown. Runner’s kennels tend to be uniform in shapes and sizes, making them favorite for commercial snacks.
Spanish peanuts are more suitable for making oil and peanut butter because they have high oil content. They are smaller than Virginia or Runner, with reddish brown color. Spanish peanuts were mostly grown in Texas and Oklahoma. The Spanish are also popular as candied peanuts.
Since each of these varieties have unique characteristics and uses, make sure you choose the best one that suits your needs.
2. Preparations to Plant Peanuts
You don’t plant peanuts from peanut seeds, but raw peanuts that are still in their shells. Most peanuts are planted in warmer regions, so you should pick a spot that receives full sun.
Peanuts need 100 to 130 days to yield results, and they thrive during warm, frost-free days. Therefore, you can try planting them in spring to harvest in fall.
If you live in colder areas, you can pick a sloping planting area that faces the south. You can also choose peanut types that mature fast, such as in 100 days. You can also start the seeds indoor using pot soil mix and transfer the seedlings to the garden later.
Peanuts also love rich and loose soil, so make sure you tilt the soil. You can also mix compost if the soil is a little hardy. Compost is great to provide nutrition for the crops if you want to harvest organic peanuts.
3. Steps of Planting Peanuts
Here are the steps of planting peanuts in your garden:
- Work on the soil by tilting it and adding compost layer if necessary. Create several holes with two inches in size and eight inches of distance between them.
- Plant four peanuts in one hole. Pat the soil, but don’t make it too firm. You want the soil to be loose, allowing the peanuts to sprout. Another trick to loosen the soil is by adding a little sand.
- Water the soil evenly, but don’t create a flood. You can install a slow irrigation system to water the peanuts regularly.
- When you start seeing sprouts, cultivate around them and add mulch. This is to loosen up the soil further and reduce the weed.
- Protect the sprouts with a net to deter pests. Fertilize the peanuts with compost or nitrogen-rich liquid fertilizer.
With regular watering and fertilizing, you will soon see flowers on the plants (usually after 30 to 40 days). Cover the plants with mesh nets to protect them from pests.
4. Can You Plant Peanuts in Pots?
Pots are not recommended for growing peanuts because they may not be able to accommodate the growths. However, you can use pots to prepare the seeds during the cold days, before transferring them outside to get warm sunlight. This method is perfect for those who live in the colder region.
To grow the seedlings, prepare pots or bowls with four inches of depth, and fill 2/3 of them with pot soil. Mix it with compost and put four seeds inside each pot. Cover the hole with one inch of soil, and water it a little. When you see seedlings, plant them outside as usual.
5. Harvesting the Peanuts
100 to 130 days after sowing is the ideal time for harvesting peanuts, but you must also check the physical signs. A peanut plant is ready to harvest when the foliage starts to turn yellow. Harvest your peanuts in the morning during fall, or anytime before the first frost appears.
Use a gardening fork or hand spade to dig gently around the plant. Slowly loosen the soil while pulling out the plant until all the peanuts are out. Shake them slightly and remove all the soil and dirt around them. Without washing, dry the peanuts in a room with good circulation. Afterward, you can use the peanuts any way you like.
After the peanuts are dried, cut the top foliage and spread all the pods on a tray. Dry them again in a room with partial shade and good circulation. Check if there are pods that have fungus and remove them.
Put the dried peanuts in a mesh bag and store them in a dark, dry place if you don’t use them immediately. Vegetable rack in the fridge is also a good place to store peanuts.
6. How to Use Peanuts
Once the peanuts are dried, you can do many things with them. Roast them directly in the oven for a simple snack. You can also deshell them, spread them on a baking tray, and add salt before roasting them in the oven.
If you have a food processor, throw six cups of peanuts with a pinch of salt into it, and turn on the machine until the peanuts turn into a thick spread.
This guide on how to grow peanuts is perfect if you have ample space in your garden. Grow your peanuts and get constant supplies of snack, peanut butter, or cooking ingredients right from your yard.