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Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm going nuts!

I am not really going nuts, more legume.

Peanuts are an important plant in my garden. Why? You ask. Because my boys love them. The enjoy planting them, harvesting them {WOOHOO We get to play in the dirt} and eating them. The process of turning them into peanut butter {the peanuts, not the boys} is fascinating to my two little ones. {We have an elephant that helps turn the peanuts into paste that the little ones use} My father even gets into the whole peanut experience.

I have had several of you ask me if you too can grow peanuts. Of course you can {ok I am being silly} Peanuts can be grown as far north as New England. The two types of peanuts you should look into are the Valencia peanut and the Spanish Red. The Valencia is a smaller peanut that will produce hardily, it is very small and are typically the ones that you roast and salt. The Spanish red are the ones you buy roasted in jacket, they do not produce as well as the Valencia variety but their flavor is superior.

Growing peanuts are rather easy. Work the soil well and deep, except for those of you in the north, plant them no deeper than 1 ½ inches. This shallow planting will encourage quicker growth and prevent damp rot in the wet spring.

If this is a new area you are cultivating, make sure to add compost or aged manure to your soil turning.

Plant 4 kernels per mound. your mounds should be 18 inches apart in rows that are 2 feet apart.

If it isn't real warm outside, it will take a little time for your peanuts to shoot up sprouts. In warm climates you should see sprouting in 7 days, cooler weather will take up to two weeks. When your plant has reached 6 inches tall, begin cultivating. When the plants reach 1 inches, hill the rows. This is important because you plant will send out roots to the side of the mounds. Leaves will begin to drop off and start a new plant. After hilling, mulch between your plants with at least 8 inches of straw or grass clippings. This will help feed your hungry plants. After that, your job with them is done until harvest.

You will want to allow a heavy frost to completely destroy the plants tops. Lift the plants out with a garden fork and shake loose the dirt. Pluck the pods from the roots and set into a shallow pan to allow to air dry. It will take 2 months of drying before you should roast them.

I hope this was helpful to those of that have been asking. Enjoy your peanuts! And if you have any questions {not just about peanuts} feel free to ask.

This is a repost, My father died 2 years ago, not long after this picture was taken.


e4 said...

Great, another thing to add to my overbooked garden!

Seriously though, thanks. I may have to bump something else to grow my favorite legume...

The Fool said...

Well, it looks I'm too far north to be in the peanut zone, but we certainly have our share of nuts.

turnip said...

I think I may save this info, I LOVE peanut butter and would love to eventually make my own...of course I am kind of garden-dumb...are the peanuts on the plant or below the ground? Do you have to roast them before making peanut butter? How many peanut plants for say one jar of peanut butter?

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

I too, am going to be planting mine soon Phelan. I don't remember what variety I purchased this year. One is a heirloom-- a valencia style. I will see how they come out. I don't remember what the other is. I am looking forward to fresh peanut butter too---not too sweet like the store bought. What are you grinding yours with or do you have someone do it for you. I would like to buy a mill and have researched them but would like to know what others are using and enjoying. (real people I can talk to--not an "on line recommendation)

Phelan said...

e4, you're welcome, and not alone!

The fool, I'm sure you do.

Turnip, No, you are not dumb, just a neophyte. Peanuts are underground. You should roast them before turning them into peanut butter.According to the American Peanut Council, it takes about 850 peanuts to make one 18-ounce jar of peanut butter.

Monica, I grow Virginan's. Love 'em. I have an old hand crank that I bought at a farm sell one year. I need a new one.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Wow, peanuts sound like a lot of work. Is there a taste difference between home grown and store bought?

My kids love peanuts in the shell, but I'm not sure I have the fortitude for the process involved.

Although I could be tempted.

Celeste said...

I made peanut butter with a food prcoessor.
About how many peanuts from a plant?

Gina said...

Can you offer some resources for obtaining green peanuts for Northern planting? Do you order yours online or get them at the farm store? I'd love to add them this year too.

Phelan said...

CC, peanuts are easy, you just need to till up and area for them when you are working in the garden.

Celeste, that I can't tell you. Every plant will produce different amounts. I have pulled up some with only 2, other's have had a couple hundred.

Gina, my first year I ordered them, then seed saved. I would talk with your local extension office and see what they suggest. They will tell you what type grows well where you are, and who you can buy them from locally, if anyone. Good Luck!

Conny said...

What an informative post - thank you. Months ago peanuts were randomly planted in my yard by Bluejays (I actually saw one pecking a peanut into the ground using it's beak.) They get them from a neighbor's feeder somewhere nearby. I decided to let the plants stay to see what transpires.

Thanks to your post, at least I know to wait for the hard frost that kills off the plants. I live in Northern Calif. near the coast where we don't get a lot of frost. If I leave them in the ground too long will they rot?

Thanks again from a new reader.

Phelan said...

Not sure what to do with no frost. I would go ahead and dig them up in late October.

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