CLIMATE FOR PEANUTS
For high yields and superior quality, peanuts require a
moderate growing period (110 to 160 days, depending on the variety) with a
steady, rather high temperature and a moderate, uniformly distributed supply of
moisture. The growing season should be
long, warm and moist, and the harvest season should be dry.
SOIL FOR PEANUTS
Light colored, well drained, sandy loam soils are ideal for
growing peanuts. Since the tap root of
the peanut plant frequently penetrates to a depth of 18 inches, it is important
that the subsoil be deep and well drained and without tendencies to become
Peanuts should not be grown on the same land for successive
years (rotate with corn, potatoes, not beans or tomatoes).
Raw peanut kernels with redskins, intact and unbroken,
should be used for planting. Seed
kernels may be left in the outer shell, however, germination will be faster if
shelled peanuts are planted. Plan for 5 plants per foot of row (about 125
pounds per acre).
Raw shelled peanuts may be purchased in the produce section
of most grocery stores, from health food stores, and most conveniently from
peanut companies listed on our web site www.aboutpeanuts.com.
(Under the Shop/Peanut Marketplace icon-scroll to Direct Mail for
an alphabetical listing of companies, their products and contact
information-including direct links to company sites) Commercial peanut farmers use seeds treated
for disease, but this is not necessary for the home garden.
SOIL PREPARATION AND FERTILIZATION
Soil should be worked until loose and prepared into rows
spaced 24 to 36 inches apart.
Peanuts respond best to residual fertilization that has been
applied to the crop preceding peanuts; however, if the area to be planted has
not been fertilized during the prior 12 months, then ahead of planting, apply
10 pounds 0-10-20 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet.
Plant as early as possible in spring after there is no danger
of frost. Plant only when the soil is
moist and at least 65E F. at seed
depth (2 to 4 inches).
Space seeds 4 to 6 inches apart at a depth of about 2
inches. Cover furrow with soil and
lightly pack. Plants emerge in 10 to 15
days depending on soil and weather conditions.
When plants are about one inch high, thin stand to about 8 inches apart.
Control grass and weeds.
In cultivating, never throw dirt on the peanut plant.
When blossoms appear on the peanut plants, apply Gypsum
[calcium (CaSO4) sulphate] in a 14-inch band over the plants (does not burn) at
the rate of 15 lbs. per 1,000 square feet.
This is essential to the formation of the peanut kernels.
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
As the peanut plant grows and develops, small yellow
blossoms appear (are capable of self-pollination). With maturity, these blooms wilt and a stem
or peg forms. Gravity pulls the peg
downward into the soil where the peanut pod forms.
The outer shell reaches full size well before the individual
peanuts mature. Each plant produces
between 25 and 50 peanuts. Mature plants
may be as large as 36 inches in diameter and about 18 inches tall.
The peanut plant has a fruiting period of about two months. All pods do not "set" or ripen
evenly. The object is to harvest when
the greatest number of pods are matured.
When a peanut is ripe, the veins of the hull are prominent
and the inside of the hull has turned dark.
If the inside of hull is white, the pod is immature. Pull a plant to examine pods for
readiness. Dig when about 2/3's of pods
on a plant are mature.
If the soil is packed down around the plant, loosen it
gently. Shake off as much of the soil as
possible (if the earth is damp and sticks to the peanuts, shake again later
when it has had time to dry.)
DRYING (OR CURING)
Allow plants, with peanuts still attached, to
"cure" in full hot sun for 4 to 7 days (may be left, turned peanuts
side-up on the garden row) or inside a dry, well ventilated area (may be hung
or spread in garage basement or storage building). Ventilation is important to the curing
process of reducing the initial moisture level of about 50% to a safe storage
level of about 10%. Inside curing may
take from 2 to 4 weeks.
When the curing process is completed, peanuts may be
separated from the plant and used or stored.
Peanuts should be stored in a cool, dry place. They keep fresh indefinitely when stored in a
tightly closed container in the freezer, ready for use.