Try something a little different - photos and information for growing peanuts in your own garden.
Growing Peanuts in Your Own Garden
If you are fortunate to live in a tropical or warm temperate climate, why not try growing peanuts in your garden?
Peanuts are unusual plants in the way the peanuts are formed. After the yellow flower is pollinated, the flower stalk elongates and grows down into the soil. It is on the end of this stalk or peg that the peanut pod forms underground.
Growing Peanuts Improves Your soil
Peanuts, sometimes called groundnuts or monkey nuts, are part of the legume family, like peas and beans. And like peas and beans, they add nitrogen to your soil, making a lovely rich soil for your next crop of vegetables. In my crop rotation vegetable garden, I planted brassicas (heavy feeders) in the peanut plot after I harvested the peanuts.
Have you ever tried growing peanuts at home?
My First Experience Growing Peanuts
Last Spring I decided to try growing peanuts when a friend gave me some seeds. The peanut seeds are - you guessed it – peanuts! But you have to make sure you have raw peanuts, not roasted. I planted these first lot of seeds straight into the garden soil. After I planted the peanuts, I happened to notice some birds having a good scratch around in the soil, so when only one of my seeds came up, I realized that these birds had been digging out my peanuts and eating them. So I planted some more peanuts into small pots and kept them in my mini greenhouse until they germinated. I ended up with 12 plants planted in a 3x4 rectangle about a foot apart. I planted them in a no-dig garden bed where the soil was made up of horse and chook manure and my own home-made compost.
Peanuts need a long growing season of 5 or 6 months and they don't like frost. They like a well-drained, friable soil that the pegs can easily penetrate. Make sure you water the peanut plants well.
When the peanut plant leaves start to turn yellow and die back, it's time to harvest your peanuts. Don't try to harvest before this time or your peanuts will not be fully formed. If you leave it too long, the peanut pods will break off and it is harder to sift through the soil trying to find all of them. It is best if you dig out each plant with a large garden fork and turn it upside down to dry for several days. Shake off the soil and continue to dry the plants under cover until they are quite dry before breaking the peanut pods off the pegs.
You can shell the peanuts and roast them on a shallow tray in the oven or eat them raw.