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Peanut growing and harvesting is super easy if you have a nice long hot summer. There is a lot to learn by growing peanuts at home. Check out this month by month garden planting guide for more information about when to grow different plants in the garden.
Every year we try to experiment with something we’ve never grown before. This time we chose peanuts. Kids LOVE growing things that grow under the ground like potatoes and carrots. Peanut growing did not disappoint.
Peanuts take a long time to grow and they like it hot like okra, so you need to make sure you have a really long hot summer before you try it. They make the cutest plants and its super fun to be surprised by what has gone on under the soil.
I don’t know what I thought about how peanuts were grown. I knew they grew under the ground because I learned it in elementary school, but they grow quite a bit like potatoes in a little cluster and I guess I didn’t realize that.
Peanuts don’t start really growing until it’s really hot outside. You don’t want to plant them too early or the cold nights will damage them. Our last average frost date is April 15 and we planted our peanuts around May 1.
Peanuts need about 100 frost free days to mature. There may be varieties that mature earlier if you think you are cutting it close. Here in Oklahoma, it’s summer for 6-8 months a year so our growing season is REALLY LONG! It’s a blessing and a curse.
Peanut growing takes very light soil like any other plant that develops under the ground. They also need full sun, the more the better. Make sure the area drains well as well or they will just rot under the ground. Make sure your peanut bed and all of your garden beds has lots of nice organic matter like compost for growing success.
The peanuts come in a shell just like a roasted peanut in the shell in the store that you buy to eat. They aren’t roasted, but that’s how they look. You remove them from the shells and plant them right away. Seems crazy that a peanut that you eat would actually grow. Just the little peanut. That’s how to grow peanut sprouts. Couldn’t be easier.
Peanut growing zones
Peanuts will grow in warm climates. They grow best in the deep south but can grow in zones 5-10. Obviously, the warmer the better.
What do peanut plants look like?
Each little shell full of peanuts grows several nice little plant that’s roots are covered in little peanuts. I have a peanut allergy and one of my new kids this fall does too, so when they did the harvesting, we sat across the way and watched.
Plant the peanuts about 2 inches deep in nice loose soil about 8 inches apart. Cover them loosely with soil and lightly pat it down. Germination depends on the variety you plant. Mulch the plants well once they are 6-8 inches high and water them about once a week.
Peanuts are actually a legume and not a nut at all. The plants have small pea-type flowers on top. They grow stems with clusters of leaves that look a little similar to a potato plant with different leaves. Peanut plants don’t grow as tall, maybe a foot or sometimes two.
Grow the peanuts until the plants turn yellow
You can find peanut plants in a variety of places, we got ours from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds.
Growing peanuts in containers
Peanuts can successfully be grown in containers, but they need plenty of room for roots, so choose a pot that is 18-20 inches across and deep for each plant. Make sure you use very loose potting mix rather than dense soil. Also, make sure the container drains well.
Once the peanut plants turn yellow, peanut harvesting is digging up the entire plant with the peanuts intact. We didn’t do this because we forgot. Hang the plants up in an airy place for about a month and then remove from the vines and use as you like.
Harvesting peanuts is fairly simple. The peanut plant comes out of the ground in one piece and is pretty easy to pull. Peanut harvesting is almost like potato harvesting.
We took ours off the vine, I’m sure they would have been better if we cured them properly, but we went ahead and cured them in buckets for about a month and then the kids took them home to cook and eat them.
You can roast them in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Twenty minutes for shelled, 30 minutes if the shells are still on. I bet they are DELICIOUS. If you grow some, let me know!
It would be so fun to make peanut butter with home grown peanuts. I bet the taste would be spectacular! To make peanut butter, just shell the roasted nuts and throw them in a blender, turn it on and drizzle oil in until it turns into a paste.