How to Grow Peanuts – A Brief Guide

Olivia Bradley, Staff Writer

Peanuts surprisingly aren’t even nuts, they are actually vegetables from the legume family, which also includes peas and beans. The peanut originates from the tropics of south america but didn’t make their way to Europe until around the time when the Spanish started actually settling in south america. They require one hundred and twenty days to mature, but fortunately the peanut plant can withstand light spring and fall frosts. Peanuts need full sun, If you have heavy soil, ensure good drainage by working in enough organic matter to make it loose and friable.

Peanut seeds come in their shells and can be planted hulled or unhulled. If you do shell them, don’t remove the thin, pinkish-brown seed coverings, or the seed won’t germinate. Northern growers should start a peanut plant indoors in a large peat pot a month before the last frost. Sow seeds one inch deep, place in the sunniest spot possible, and water weekly. Transplant peanut plant seedlings to the garden when the soil warms to between sixty and seventy degrees. Space transplants ten inches apart, being careful not to damage or bury the crown.

The crop is ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow and the peanuts’ inner shells have gold-marked veins, which you can check periodically by pulling out a few nuts from the soil and shelling them. If you wait too long, the pegs will become brittle and the pods will break off in the ground, making harvesting more difficult. Pull or dig the plants and roots when the soil is moist. Shake off the excess soil, and let plants dry in an airy place until the leaves become crumbly; then remove the pods. Unshelled peanuts, stored in airtight containers, can keep for up to a year.