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How to Grow and Care for Peanuts

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Peanut Plant Profile

Peanuts are a tropical legume. Growing them is fun and rewarding. And watching peanuts grow is also fascinating, especially with children, because peanuts are unique in their growth habits. Plants send shoots called "stakes" into the ground where the peanut bunches grow.

Botanical NameArachis hypogaea
Common NamePeanuts, Goobers, Groundpeas, Ground nuts, Earth nuts
Plant TypeAnnual
Mature Size1 to 2 feet with a three-foot spread
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil Type Sandy loam
Soil pH 6.0 to 6.5
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color Yellow
Hardiness Zone Zones 5-7 ("Northern" varieties) 8-12
Native AreaSouth America

How to Grow Peanuts

If you live in an area where summers are long and hot, with at least 120-150 days without frost, you are in the right place to grow peanuts.

Light

Peanuts need full sun for at least eight hours a day.

Soil

Peanuts grow best in loose, well-drained sandy clay. Avoid hard, poorly drained clay soils. Do not plant peanuts in the same place where you grew other legumes (beans or peas) in previous years.

Water

Peanuts need about 2.5 cm of rain or watering per week during the growing season, especially after planting, to ensure that the seedlings germinate and settle; then 60 to 110 days after sowing, when the cuttings enter the soil and until the moment when the pods are filled.

Stop watering plants ten days to two weeks before harvest.

When watering, avoid wetting the leaves and, if possible, use drip irrigation. The soil should be moist, but not saturated.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal growing temperature for peanuts is between 86 and 93 degrees F. Higher temperatures can damage flowers.

Slightly humid conditions are good as the plants grow, but a dry period of time is required before harvest.

Fertilizer

Peanuts need calcium in the first 15 cm of the soil where the fruits grow.

The peanut is a legume that fixes its nitrogen in the soil if there is presence of rhizobial bacteria. Therefore, peanuts do not need additional nitrogen fertilizers. However, if you are planting in a place where peanuts have never been grown before, it may be a good idea to add a peanut inoculant to the soil at planting time, which encourages the roots to develop the nitrogen-fixing nodules in plant. I usually .

Keep in mind that peanuts are extremely susceptible to fertilizer burning, so be sure to always apply the fertilizer completely to the soil before planting.

Growing Peanuts From Seeds

Sow the seeds directly outside after the last frost. Remove the husks before planting, but be careful not to damage the soft skin of the seeds. Plant the seeds one to two inches deep, ten to fifteen inches apart. Leave a meter between the lines. Keep the soil moist to ensure germination. The seeds will germinate in 10-15 days. Thin out the seedlings when they are about two inches tall, with eight to twelve inches between each plant.

Keeping the area around the plants weed-free and loose is very important because, once the plant has bloomed and pollinated, it will start sending cuttings to the ground. Adding a few inches of mulch helps control weeds.

Once the cuttings have entered the soil, do not disturb them. You can see a lot of flowers on plants, but only 15% of them will actually send a stake to the ground and plant peanuts.

Growing Peanuts in Containers

Limited soil space in a container would lead to a poor harvest, so growing peanuts in containers is not recommended.

Harvesting Peanuts

There are several indications that peanuts are ready to be harvested in late summer or early fall. The most noticeable is the yellowish color of the foliage, but it is also advisable to pluck some fruits from the ground and inspect them carefully if the fruits have the typical venous surface if the integuments of the seeds are colored and most of the fruits have a darkened internal surface.

When harvesting peanuts, the soil must be dry. Dig or scoop whole plants out of the soil and gently shake them to remove excess soil.

Hang the plants with the peanuts attached in a dry, warm place with good air circulation. Let them cure for about a week.

After curing, shake the soil of the pods. Remove the peanuts from the vines and continue to air dry them for a week or two.

Peanut Varieties

    • Valencian peanuts mature faster in 90-110 days. Therefore, it is often a variety of choices for home gardeners. They have three to five relatively small kernels per pod, rather than red seed coats.
    • Spanish peanuts take 90-120 days to mature. Peanuts are mainly used for sweet and roasted peanuts.
    • Virginia peanuts and white peanuts take 130 to 150 days to mature. This variety produces a high yield of large fruits with excellent flavor.
    • As the name implies, the Runner Peanut needs more space, about 3.5 feet per plant. The fruit is small, with two grains per pod. They taste great and are most commonly used for peanut butter.

    Virginia and Runner peanuts cannot tolerate low or dry temperatures.

    Common Pests/Diseases

    Peanuts can be affected by a wide range of pests and diseases. Leaf-eating insects can include armyworms and caterpillars. Common diseases are leaf spot, rust, and viral diseases.

    As with all pests and diseases, before any type of treatment, be sure to correctly identify what is damaging the plants by asking your local extension office for help.

    Some diseases can be controlled by choosing less sensitive varieties.

    Enjoy This Video Tutorial About How to grow Peanuts in your home garden

    Source: California Gardening

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