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How to Grow Fresh Peanuts in your Garden

Arachis hypogaea

February 8, 1998
I live in Idaho and recently found a strain of peanuts advertised in a seed catalogue that should mature within our growing season.
Unfortunately, I know nothing about peanuts or anyone who does.
How are they planted and cared for? What makes them do well? What kind of soil do they do well in?
I would appreciate any information you might be able to provide in raising peanuts.
Thornius the Garden Gnome

Soil Preparation for Growing Peanut Plants

The soil should be loose, light and sandy, with plenty of organic matter like compost and well rotted manure.
Rocks and sticks should be removed.
A soil pH test should be done to determine the lime and fertilizer needs for growing peanuts in your soil.
A soil pH of about 6.0 would be optimum for peanuts, but the crop can produce well over a wide range soil pH.
If lime is needed, broadcast the recommended amount and incorporate with the soil well in advance of planting.
Mix in ½ cup of 8-8-8 fertilizer for each 10 feet of row prior to planting,
however if the area was heavily fertilized during the previous year, you can use considerably less.
Peanuts need calcium in the top three to four inches of soil where pods develop.
Without sufficient calcium the nuts will not fill out.
Gypsum (calcium sulfate) should be applied at a rate of one cup for each ten feet of row when the peanuts begin to flower.

Planting Your Peanuts

Peanut plants, Arachis hypogaea, grow best during a long, hot growing season.
Plant Peanuts in early to mid April when the soil has warmed sufficiently.
Remove the seeds from the shells and the skin from the seeds, then plant them about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep and three inches apart.
The rows should be 30-36 inches apart.

Peanut Growing Tips

Cultivation to control weeds should be shallow.
This prevents damage to peanuts because they develop near the soil surface.
Don't let peanut plants dry out during flowering. If the plants are allowed to dry out at any time after flowering, they will make fewer peanuts.
Water them weekly until the soil is soaked six to eight inches deep.
Mulching with well rotted compost will help to keep the soil moist and help to control the weeds.

Harvesting your Peanuts

Peanuts flower over a long period of time and therefore all pods do not mature at the same time.
Consequently, judgment and experience is necessary when determining when the best time is to harvest the peanuts.Generally, peanuts are ready for harvest when older plants begin to yellow.
Peanut Plants should be dug and left to dry for a day or two, much as you would with potatoes.
If it's rainy, dry them in an airy place, out of rain.
When the nuts are dry, pull them from the roots, roast them, boil them, or store them in a cool dry place.

Happy munching!