Who among us doesn't love peanuts also commonly called American peanuts? A delicious legume that has always accompanied our aperitifs and our parties in company: here, in this blog article, we will learn how to grow the much-loved American peanuts with our complete guide to the cultivation of peanuts.
- Peanuts: general information
- How peanuts are grown
- What are the characteristics of the peanut plant
- When to Plant Peanuts
- Soil to be used for growing peanuts
- How to plant peanuts
- How to sprout peanuts
- Irrigation of peanut cultivation
- Care of the peanut plantation
- Harvesting of peanuts
- Diseases of peanuts
- Tips for growing peanuts
1. Peanuts: general information
In this article we will explain how to plant peanuts. To do this, we will begin by explaining that the peanut, whose scientific name is Arachis hypogaea, is a plant that is part of the Fabaceae family, as are beans and peas, however, much unlike these, their pods grow under Earth. The floral scape has the characteristic of curving downwards after pollination, continuously growing up to bury the ovary of the flower. The development and maturation of the pods therefore takes place in the ground.
2. How are peanuts grown?
Many people are surprised to learn that peanuts don't grow on trees like walnuts. Peanuts are a legume, not a nut. The peanut plant is unusual in that it blooms above ground, but the peanut grows underground, making it a unique plant. The word peanut is of Taíno origin and is the name that predominates in some Spanish-speaking countries for the denomination of both the plant and its fruits and seeds. The name peanut can also derive from the Guarani language in which it is called manduví. The plant and fruit are known in Mexico as cacahuate, while Spain has adopted the word peanut and is sometimes called avellano. Peanut plants are believed to have their origin in South America, where the Incas cultivated the plant at least 3,500 years ago. In addition to valuing peanuts as food, the Incas considered them a status symbol and even used them as money.
To give you an idea, here's what a peanut plant field looks like:
3. What are the characteristics of the peanut plant?
The peanut fruit growing process is very special and stands out from most plants. The flowers are yellow and self-pollinating. Once pollinated, the delicate petals fall off. The stems (called tips) just below the ovaries stretch and bend towards the ground, growing from the soil. Under the ground the ovary forms a peanut pod at the tip of each stem, which spreads out to form a peanut. It is these spikes that form the peanuts, not the roots of the plant. The peanut plant is a short plant, up to 45 centimeters tall. As mentioned above, it is an unusual plant in that it blooms above ground, but bears fruit under the ground.
Below we show a schematic drawing of the plant:
4. When to plant peanuts
Peanuts can be grown in regions with average temperatures between 20 and 30 ° C at least during the plant's growth cycle. The peanut plant is unable to withstand low temperatures. You should also keep in mind that when it comes to planting peanuts, a rainy period can affect pollination, ideally a dry climate during the flowering period. The peanut plant needs direct sunlight for at least a few hours a day.
5. Soil to be used for growing peanuts
It is very important to underline with regard to the method of planting the peanut, that this preferably develops in places with drained, light, fertile and rich in organic substance soil. We recommend BioBizz's All Mix Organic Soil which will provide your plants with everything they need for healthy and harmonious growth. The pH of the soil to be used is between 5.5 and 6.5. You can find pH meters and pH regulators in this section of our online shop. It should also be noted that its roots have a symbiotic association with rhizobia, a bacterium capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere to transform it into ammonia or nitrate, which is why less nitrogen must be provided.
Add sand and old compost to the soil to loosen it and make it more airy. When the plants are about 6 inches tall, the soil around them is worked to loosen the soil so that the spikes easily penetrate the soil.
6. How to plant peanuts
The fresh peanut seed to use should be purchased at a garden store for best results.
One thing to keep in mind is that the peanut must be kept in its shell until planted to prevent it from overdrying.
- The seeds are usually planted where they will grow, however small pots or newspaper cups 10cm deep can also be used.
- Seedlings should be transplanted when they measure 10 to 15cm.
- The recommended distance on how to plant peanuts is 15 to 30cm between plants and 60 to 80cm between crop rows.
- Then later form a hill around the plant as you would a potato. Small yellow flowers will form along the underside of the stem. After the flowers wither, the ovaries swell and there they will begin to grow towards the soil and then burrow to form the peanut.
- This plant can also be planted in pots or similar containers with a minimum diameter of 50cm.
7. How to sprout peanuts
To sprout a peanut from the peanut, so to speak, you start with the shells of fresh, unroasted peanuts. Start indoors, for example with a large plastic container, 10 centimeters deep, and fill it 3/4 full with moist soil. Then shell four peanuts (or a little more, but not many more) to put on top of the ground; cover the peanuts with 2-3 centimeters of soil. Plants germinate quickly. After they have sprouted, the seedlings are ready to be transplanted to an outdoor location. An excellent alternative for rapid germination is the use of a mini propagator with seedbed or a propagator, where both a layer of soil and biodegradable jars filled with soil can be inserted inside where we will put our peanut to germinate. Propagators allow us to have a constant temperature and protection from any thermal changes, making germination quick and easy.
8. Irrigation of the peanut crop
Irrigation must be done flush to keep the soil moist, without causing water stagnation. Keep in mind that one tip on how to plant peanuts is that watering should be reduced or suspended during the flowering period so as not to damage pollination.
9. Care of the peanut plantation
Weeds must be eliminated as they compete for resources and nutrients. For those cultivars that grow vertically, the soil must be stacked around the plants before the start of flowering, in order to facilitate their arrival on the ground from the ovary of the flower, thus improving its productivity.
10. Harvesting of peanuts
Pod harvesting can begin as early as 100 days up to almost six months after the start of sowing, this period varies depending on the crop and growing conditions. Peanut harvesting occurs when the leaves of this plant are yellowish. Take a few pods off the ground and make sure they have darker veins on the inside, this indicates they are ripe and ready for harvest. An average peanut plant will produce around 25 to 50 peanuts, and it takes about 425 peanuts to fill a 125-gram jar of peanut butter.
The plants are removed from the soil and then left in a place protected from rain and humidity, leaving the roots and pods exposed to dry for a week or two. Very comfortable and efficient drying nets can be easily used. If the harvest is delayed, when the plant is uprooted, the pods fall and remain on the ground. After drying, the pods can be easily released from the plant and can be collected and stored in a cool, dry place for several months, or they can be removed and used immediately.
In the event that the harvest takes place in a place with high humidity, a fungus called Aspergillus flavus begins to appear, especially if the drying is delayed or improperly stored. This mushroom is a producer of aflatoxins, a highly toxic and carcinogenic substance, which is why mold-contaminated peanuts should not be used, as they pose a serious risk to human or animal health. At the first symptoms, before the situation escalates, use a biological fungicide such as Agrobacterias Amanitha Muskaria.
12. Tips for growing peanut plants
- Peanuts are planted in early spring and grow best in calcium-rich sandy soil. A good harvest takes 120 to 140 days without frost. Peanuts are harvested in the fall, carefully lifting the plant off the ground so as not to break the peanuts. They are then left to dry in the sun for several days.
- Although considered a hot climate crop, the plants are also grown in cooler climates. The peanut plant has a long one growing season (ranging from 100 to 130 frost-free days), which is similar to the growing time of chili plants. Plants could be banned at any time after 100-120 days.
- In colder climates, the trick to growing them is to choose an early ripening variety that only takes about 100 days to harvest. Another tip in colder climates is to plant it on a south-facing slope. An early season advantage can also be gained by planting peanuts indoors 5 to 8 weeks before transplanting outdoors.
- It is important to select a site in full sun and rows covered with plastic are recommended to protect young plants from spring frosts.