Did you know that peanuts are a member of the legume family, also known as the bean family? Peanuts are native to South America, specifically in the Bolivian and Paraguayan regions of the continent. These plants commonly grow to be between one and two feet tall. Importantly, the peanuts are housed beneath the surface of the ground in the soil. Thus, only the green peanut plant is all that can be seen above the ground. This is important to be aware of, especially for the first time peanut growers.
Peanuts need between 130 and 140 days to grow. Therefore, you need to live in an area with a growing season at least this long. In other words, because peanuts are very susceptible to frost, you need at least 140 days between the last and first frosts of the season. It is also possible to cover the peanut plants if there is an early frost in the fall, for example. However, it is not recommended to grow this type of plant where there is not sufficiently long growing season consisting of 140 or more days. Peanuts can be a little bit tricky to plant if you have never done it before, but on the other hand it can also be a lot of fun.
To plant, insert the peanut seeds about 2 inches deep and about 7 inches apart into the soil. Be sure that the soil that you are using is more on the sandy side and not thick clay. This is important because the peanut needs to grow through the soil and reach the sun. If the ground is packed too tightly, the peanut will never reach the surface and will die. Some people suggest putting mulch on top of the peanuts so that it is easy for them to get to the surface. Furthermore, it is imperative to put plenty amounts of compost or manure in with the peanuts. This will provide the necessary nutrients for the peanuts to grow to their maximum potential. Finally, be sure to have proper drainage. It may be necessary to construct a tiny mount for the peanuts to be planted in. This way, not too much water will get into the peanuts and hinder their ability to grow. On the same note, too much watering, as well as rainy climates, will not allow the peanuts to properly grow.
Since the peanuts must be grown for such a long period of time, they are very easy to forget about. It is important to remember to harvest the plants after the first frost of the season in the fall. To harvest the peanuts, take the entire plant out of the ground and be sure not to break off and lose any of the peanuts on the end. Bring them all inside and place them on the table, where it is easy to remove the peanuts and untangle the plants. The peanuts are all located at the bottom of the plant where the roots are. After removing the peanuts from the plant, be sure to let them dry. The peanuts need to dry for approximately 2-4 weeks until they are more brittle and breakable. After the peanuts have dried they are ready to eat. Crack them open and enjoy!