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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Peanuts in the garden

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 6 years ago, not long after this picture was taken.


longtime wife said...

so at what point do you make the peanut butter? after roasting?

Phelan said...

You can make peanut butter without roasting, either way is fine, just depends on the flavor you prefer.

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