Peanuts are actually part of the legume family native to South America, Mexico, and Central America. They are also known as earthnuts, jack nuts, goobers, goober peas, pinders, manila nuts, pindas, and monkey nuts.
The peanut’s popularity is apparent in its variety of forms. Peanuts are often presented as peanut butter, salted peanuts, peanut butter sandwiches, candy bars, peanut brittle, and shelled peanuts. Their high nutritional content and affordability over other nuts have also made peanuts a popular choice.
Planting your own peanuts for selling, for making peanut butter, or simply for eating can be quite fun and delightful. Here are a few basic steps when planting peanuts.
- raw peanuts with the red skin still intact
Steps to Grow Peanuts
- Planting the Peanuts
- Plant the peanuts after the last frost of the spring.
- Choose a planting site with light and sandy soil.
- Prepare the site by ploughing the ground at least 7 inches or more. Sow in manure or compost.
- Soak the peanuts overnight before planting for quicker germination.
- Plant the peanuts less than 2 inches deep with at least 7 inches spacing between them. Take care that the kernels are kept whole.
- Water the peanuts well after covering with soil. Avoid watering again until the emergence of new sprouts. It takes about 10 to 15 days for new sprouts to grow. Do not overwater when you begin to water them regularly.
- Keep the plantation site free of weeds that may hinder peanut growth.
- Add more compost or fertilizers with extra calcium to enrich the soil.
- Harvesting Peanuts
- Wait 4 to 5 months for the plants to mature. It is nearly time to harvest the peanuts when the leaves turn yellow.
- Dig up a few peanuts to check if they are mature when the leaves start turning yellow. Continue checking periodically until the peanuts are ready for harvest.
- Harvest the peanuts by pulling the entire plant out. Each plant yields about 40 peanuts.
- Harvest the peanuts before a hard freeze.
- Storing the Peanuts
- Dry the peanuts thoroughly after harvesting. You may leave them by the windows to dry if the weather is good; or find a place with good air circulation indoors.
- You may use the oven to dry peanuts in small quantities. Place the peanuts in a tray and bake them in a preheated oven at 130′ F. The peanuts should be dry, but still soft.
- Throw away rancid or moldy peanuts as they may contain a fungus called Aflatoxin. The said fungus can cause serious illness to humans when ingested.
- Store shelled and unshelled peanuts in a sealed container. Shelled peanuts can last for 3 months in the refrigerator. Unshelled peanuts can last for 4 to 6 months in the refrigerator.
- Store peanuts in freeze-safe containers for long-term storage.