Planting peanuts from seed

Useful gardening information

Peanut seeds are planted one to two inches deep, one every six inches or so apart, in rows about three feet apart. The seeds do best in sandy soil, especially soil rich in calcium. When the soil temperature is warm (65-70 F.) given enough water the seeds will sprout. In about two weeks, the first “square” of four leaflets will unfold above the peanut field. Thirty to forty days after emergence the plants bloom, “pegs” form and enter the soil. The peanut shells and kernels develop and mature during the next 60 to 70 day period. Depending on the variety, 120 to 160 frost free days are required for a good crop.

Informative articles found on the web:

Insteading Growing Peanuts: A good blog about peanuts and growing them
How to grow Peanuts
Peanut Recipes
How to Make Natural Peanut Butter

Peanut Seeds

TCB010 Jumbo Virginia ( No Shell ) Extra-large peanuts with rich flavor. Jumbo Virginia is a tasty peanut with 1 or 2 extra-large nuts per pod. For maximum productivity, the vines need to be frost free for 4-5 months and grow best in well-drained soil. Under favorable conditions, plant yields 50-60 pods. Produces in about 105 days.
Cannot ship to CA or Canada. TCB016 Tennessee Red Valencia ( No Shell ) 110 days. Old heirloom variety dating back to 1930. Rich, sweet peanuts with red skins. 2-3 seeds per pod. Easy to grow without hilling, even in clay soils. An early variety for those who have trouble maturing Virginia-type peanuts. ( Note: Each pack of raw seeds will have a few split seeds, this is normal for fresh raw peanut seeds, discard the split seeds and only plant whole seeds ).
Cannot ship to CA or Canada. 1A452 Spanish Peanut ( No Shell ) Delicious when roasted, appealing red skins and wonderful peanut buttery flavor. High in protein. Try making your own homemade peanut butter from this variety.
This is the same peanut sold in supermarkets in the packs of salted peanuts, and the one commonly found in nut mixes.
These seeds have been removed from shell and are ready to plant.
Cannot ship to CA or Canada.

Virginia Jumbo Peanut Seeds

Sowing: Northern gardeners may want to start their peanut seeds indoors to get a head start on the season. Plant the peanut seeds for sale 1″ deep in large peat pots and keep at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination; transplant them as soon as the soil temperature reaches an average of 60-70 degrees F. In warmer climates, direct sow around the time of the last frost by planting the seeds 3″ deep and 5″ apart; later, thin plants to 10″ apart. Peanuts need full sun and soil with good drainage.

Growing: When the plant reaches 12″ tall, mound up the dirt around it and add mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil soft. The tops of the faded flowers, also called pegs or peduncles, will bury themselves in the earth and begin to develop peanuts. Water the plants if the weather gets dry.

Harvesting: When the peanuts are ripe, the leaves will turn yellow and the outer skin of the shell will feel papery and dry. Remove the entire plant from the ground by lifting it with a garden fork, and let it dry in a well ventilated location for two or three days. When the leaves begin to crumble, remove the peanuts from the plant.

Seed Saving: Peanuts properly dried for 2-3 weeks can be used for seed, though they cannot be planted immediately because of a 1-3 month period of dormancy.

Planting Peanut Seeds: How Do You Plant Peanut Seeds

Baseball just wouldn’t be baseball without peanuts. Until relatively recently (I’m dating myself here…), every national airline presented you with the ubiquitous bag of peanuts on flights. And then there’s Elvis’ favorite, the peanut butter and banana sandwich! You get the gist; peanuts are entwined into the fabric of America. For that reason, you might be wondering about growing peanuts from seeds. How do you plant peanut seeds? Read on to find out about planting peanut seeds at home.

About Planting Peanut Seeds

If you’re interested in trying your hand at growing peanuts in the garden, there are a few things you should know. For instance, did you know that what we refer to as peanuts are actually not nuts but legumes, relatives of peas and beans? The self-pollinating plants bloom above ground while the pods develop beneath the soil. Inside each pod are the seeds.

Once the blossoms are fertilized, the petals fall away, and the stalks, or pegs, located just under the ovaries, elongate and bend towards the earth, growing into the soil. Underground, the ovary enlarges to form the peanut pod.

Although peanuts are thought to be a warm weather crop only propagated in the southern regions of the U.S., they can be grown in northern areas as well. To grow peanuts in cooler

zones, choose an early maturing variety like “Early Spanish,” which is ready to harvest in 100 days. Plant the seed on a south-facing slope, if possible, or to get an early start, sow the peanuts seeds indoors 5-8 weeks prior to transplanting outside.

How Do You Plant Peanut Seeds?

Although you may have success planting peanuts from the grocers (raw ones, not roasted!), the best bet is to purchase them from a reputable nursery or garden center. They will come intact in the shell and must be hulled before using. Now you are ready to plant.

The peanut seeds look remarkably similar from end to end, so it’s not uncommon to wonder which way to plant a peanut seed. There is no particular end that gets plunked into the ground first as long as you remember to remove the hull beforehand. Really, growing peanuts from seed is easy and especially fun for the kids to be involved in.

Select a site that is in full sun with loose, well-draining soil. Plant the peanut seeds three weeks after the last frost and once the soil has warmed to at least 60 F. (16 C.). Also, soak the seeds overnight in water to promote more rapid germination. Then sow them to a depth of 2 inches (5 cm.), 4-6 inches apart (10-15 cm.). Seedlings will appear about a week after planting and will continue to grow slowly for the next month. If frost is a concern at this time, cover the seedlings with plastic row covers.

To start the peanut seeds indoors, fill a large bowl 2/3 full of moist potting soil. Place four peanut seeds on the top of the soil and cover them with another inch or so of soil (2.5 cm.). When the plants have sprouted, transplant them outside as above.

Once plants reach about 6 inches tall (15 cm.), cultivate carefully around them to loosen the soil. This allows the pegs to penetrate easily. Then finish by mulching with a couple inches (5 cm.) of straw or grass clippings.

Peanuts should be watered regularly by deeply soaking the plants 1-2 times per week. Watering is most crucial at 50-100 days from sowing when the pods are growing near the soil’s surface. As the plants become ready for harvest, allow the soil to dry out; otherwise, you’ll find yourself with dozens of sprouting mature peanuts!

Harvest your peanuts, or legumes, for roasting, boiling, or grounding into the best peanut butter you’ve ever eaten.

Why aren’t peanuts classified as nuts?

If a tasty bag of peanuts is one of your favorite go-to items for a healthier snack, take note: That’s actually not a nut you’re munching on. While they sport the “nut” name, peanuts are actually a legume, making them a member of the family of plant-based items that includes lentils, beans and soybeans.

True to the legume family, a peanut is composed of an edible seed that grows inside a pod. One reason you may not readily associate peanuts with those more familiar legumes is that you don’t eat the peanut’s dry and brittle pod, like you do with many legumes — the green bean, for instance.

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Another difference lies in where the nuts grow. You won’t find a peanut growing on a tree, as you would with almonds or cashews. Called forage legumes, peanut pods grow under the soil, originating from a bush-like, creeping plant. When they’re ripe and ready to harvest, they’re pulled up, similar to a carrot or potato. Perhaps the nickname “ground nut” is a more descriptive title for this tasty legume .

Because peanuts grow underground, they can become contaminated with a strain of mold called aflatoxin, which can cause illness. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture carefully monitors peanut production and halts the process for any peanuts with unsafe levels of aflatoxin .

Already familiar to those who follow a vegetarian diet, items in the legume family provide a good source of concentrated, nonanimal protein. Peanuts contain more protein than most true nuts, packing in 7.3 grams per ounce. They’re also rich in a wide array of nutrients, including folate, vitamins E and B6, zinc, calcium, iron and more .

Regardless of what they’re called or where they grow, peanuts have become an American staple. According to The Peanut Institute, peanuts and peanut butter compose 67 percent of all U.S. nut consumption. The peanut’s versatility helps explain this overwhelming popularity — it can be roasted and eaten as a snack, pureed into peanut butter, tossed into stir-fries or added to baked goods.

So next time you’re munching on some peanuts and want to share knowledge about your favorite legume … hey, go nuts.

Recent vegan and vegetarian converts often ask, “Is a peanut a legume?” Don’t let the name fool you; the answer is not found in the food’s moniker.

Is a Peanut a Legume?

“Nut” may be in its name, but the peanut is in fact a legume. The popular protein source grows underground, not on trees like traditional nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. Legumes, also known as dried beans, are edible seeds which grow together in enclosed pods. Peanuts take about four to five months to mature from seeds into full-grown plants. Similar to fellow legumes beans and peas, peanuts are packed with nutritional benefits and are extremely versatile.

Why Vegetarians Love Peanuts

Vegetarians and vegans are huge fans of peanuts. The legumes are packed with nutrients and are one of the healthiest protein sources around. However, vegans need to be careful about accidentally consuming flavored peanuts. If you are a strict vegan who avoids honey, you don’t want to inadvertently eat honey-roasted peanuts or other flavored peanuts that may contain gelatin. Stick to dry-roasted peanuts, which are vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.

Versatility

When it comes to versatility, peanuts can’t be beat. The tasty legumes are convenient, healthy, and affordable. What’s more, they can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of simple ways, including:

  • Added to cereal snack mixes
  • Crushed and sprinkled on salads
  • Tossed in vegetable stir fries
  • Cracked and eaten raw with tomato juice for a healthy afternoon snack
  • Chopped and added to brown rice
  • Puréed and combined with flavored oils to use as a cooking sauce for tofu or fish

Peanut butter is another vegetarian favorite that can be incorporated into a number of healthy dishes, eaten plain, or added to a fruit smoothie when you are looking for a protein pick-me-up.

Health Benefits of Peanuts

Vegetarians are well aware that peanuts are an outstanding protein source. In fact, a one-ounce serving of peanuts provides a whopping seven grams of protein to your diet, but that’s not all. Peanuts are also high in arginine, which may lower blood pressure levels, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and increase energy levels. The popular legumes also contain a host of other nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Dietary fiber

The plant-based protein featured in peanuts is especially attractive to vegans and vegetarians; however, you can have too much of a good thing. Despite all of their health benefits, peanuts should always be eaten in moderation. Consuming large quantities of the popular legume provides hefty doses of saturated fat, sodium, and calories and can cause stomach pain or diarrhea.

Peanut Buying Tips

Now that you’ve learned the answer to “Is a peanut a legume?” you will likely be more apt to crack open a shell or two the next time you’re hungry. Fortunately, peanuts are relatively inexpensive, especially if you buy them in bulk. Before you purchase a 10-pound sack of peanuts, though, it’s a good idea to inspect a few for quality. The legume’s shells should be free of cracks, dark spots, and holes, and the shells should not make a rattling noise. The sound suggests that the peanuts have dried out and their taste has been compromised.

From Seed to Market

Travel with peanuts from the farm to your local grocery store.

Seeds go into the ground early in the spring.

From planting to harvesting, the growing cycle of the peanut plant takes about four to five months, or lasts 120 to 160 days. Once planted, seedlings break through the soil in about 10 days and grow to about 18 inches tall. Unlike most plants, the peanut plant flowers above the ground but fruits below ground. (Link to “How Peanuts Grow” page)

When the peanuts are ready for harvest, the farmer uses a digger to loosen the plants, sever the taproot and lift the plant from the soil. The peanut plant is rotated and placed in a “windrow”—with peanuts up and leaves down. They are usually left in windrows for two or three days to cure, or dry. Last, a combine separates the peanuts from the vines and places the peanuts into a hopper. Freshly dug peanuts are placed into peanut wagons and are ready to begin their journey from farm to market.

The peanut’s first stop is a buying point.

Most farmers do not have the time during harvest to continue cleaning and drying their crops. So growers rely on a Peanut Buying Point to receive, weigh, clean, dry, inspect, grade and prepare the peanuts for storage and shelling.

Between 80 and 90 percent of all peanuts go to a shelling processor.

In some areas, a sheller can be the peanut crop’s first stop. After cleaning, drying, inspecting and grading, the peanuts either go to commercial use or are accepted for storage. From the sheller, peanuts can go to a food manufacturer, a peanut processor, a crushing facility in the U.S. or the shelled peanuts can be exported to another country.

About 5 to 10 percent of all peanuts go to seed companies. After processing, these peanuts become next year’s seed.

Roasting processor. These peanuts stay inside the shell and are roasted. The flavors can be original, spicy or sweet. The possibilities are limitless! Roasted peanut are most commonly known as “ballpark” peanuts and show up at sporting events and in stores. Some are exported.

Peanut processor. It’s common for raw peanuts to be delivered to a company that processes the peanuts. These companies set up contracts with various peanut butter companies, confectioners or snack companies, and prepare the peanuts for the food company to use for their products. Peanuts are sorted according to variety, uniformity of size or flavor, and prepared and sold to food manufacturers. These manufacturers make the peanuts into some of our favorite American foods—peanut butter, peanut candies or snacks.

Food manufacturer. Sometimes peanuts are sent to a food manufacturer that has its own peanut processing capabilities. The peanuts are then turned into peanut butter, peanut candy, peanut snacks and other peanut products.

Crushing facility. Raw peanuts are crushed to produce peanut oil or peanut flour. Some peanut oil is sold as is, and some is added to other oils to produce vegetable oil. Crushing facilities also produce peanut meal, which is usually sold for livestock feed.

Curious about how peanut butter gets from the farm to your pantry? Check out The Journey of a Peanut Butter Jar.

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