Peanut Growing Guide
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Peanut Growing Guide

What are Peanuts?

Peanuts were first brought to France and Africa from Brazil, and then later introduced into the U.S. during the 1700s. The first commercial peanuts were grown near Wilmington, NC about 1800. Contrary to popular belief, the peanut is not a nut. It’s actually a vegetable belonging to the legume family, which includes peas and beans. Since peanuts are tropical natives, they require about 120 days to mature, but fortunately the peanut plant can withstand light spring and fall frosts. The peanut plant is unique because its flowers grow aboveground, yet the pods containing the seeds develop in the soil. The best part is that peanuts don’t need a lot of fertilizer treatments because they are nitrogen-fixing plants (meaning that they add nitrogen to the soil as opposed to removing it), so they can grow even in relatively poor soil. The Wynne Peanut, the variety we stock, is a Virginia-type peanut that produces high-yields of large peanuts with a pink seed coat that are perfect for boiling and roasting.

How To Grow Peanuts In Your Garden

The ideal time of year to plant peanuts is between late April to mid-June. Pick a location for your peanut that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight and has loose, rich, well-drained soil. If choosing to grow in a pot or raised bed, make sure it is at least 18-20 inches across and 18 inches deep per plant. Peanut plants will flower with yellow blooms before pegging. “Pegging down” is the term that describes how this stalk continues to grow into the ground until it reaches a depth of 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.). At the end of each peg is where the seed pods begin to form, encasing the seeds, or peanuts. About six to eight weeks after planting small yellow flowers will begin to form. When this happens, you’ll want to hill a little loose dirt around the plant. Once a flower has pollinated, the petals fall off, and it sends a shoot down into the dirt, where the peanuts will grow! Just one plant can grow 30-50 peanuts, so the plant needs some room to spread out to send as many of its shoots as possible into the dirt. Peanuts spread via “rhizomes”— or underground shoots that new plants form from, so you won’t have to plant new seeds the next year. Peanuts do best in high humidity, high heat situations, as they are native to tropical rainforests.

Did You Know?

Peanuts are thought to have originated in South America, where Peruvian Indians cultivated them at least 3,500 years ago and used them as food as well as currency.

Our Favorite Peanuts to Grow

Peanut Planting Information

In-Ground Planting

Row Spacing - 3 to 4 feet

Plant Spacing - 4 to 6 inches

Planting Depth - 1.5 to 2 inches


Raised Bed Planting

Row Spacing - 2 feet

Plant Spacing - 4 to 6 inches

Planting Depth - 1.5 to 2 inches

Peanuts Soil, Irrigation, & Fertilizer

Soil Requirements to Grow Peanuts

  • Well-draining, loamy soil
  • pH between 6.0 and 6.5
  • Rich in organic materials
  • Good quality compost added to the soil

Inoculants

Inoculants are useful for nitrogen-fixing legumes like peanuts because they add bacteria populations in the soil that help plants fix more nitrogen, and the high nitrogen will help other types of crops grow after rotating. Inoculants contain billions of live bacteria that are essential to the nitrogen-fixing process of vegetable and cover crop plants. The bacteria work to actively convert atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form for the plant. This allows vegetable plants to make their own nitrogen, and allows cover crops to increase the amount of stored nitrogen that is available to the following crop. Use our Granular Garden Soil Inoculant if peanuts have not been planted in the last 5 years.

Peanut Irrigation Requirements

We always recommend using a drip tape irrigation system to grow peanuts for several reasons. Drip irrigation ensures the plants are getting the right amount of water directly to the root system during these vital times. Drip irrigation also helps to keep weed pressure down while seedlings are starting to emerge. Overall, the rule of thumb is that peanut plants require 1 to 2 inches of water per week.

Raised Bed Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

1 Week Before Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 6.0 – 6.5, mix 1 cup per 10 ft. of row of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting, Every 7 Days

Using Mix 1 tablet each of Dr. Joe Nutri Bubble into 1 gallon of water. Apply as a drench per 4 feet of row. Apply 0.5 lbs of row Pelletized Gypsum at first signs of flowering.

In-Ground Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

1 Week Before Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 6.0 – 6.5, mix 1 cup per 10 ft. of row of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting, Every 7 Days

Using the Hoss Fertilizer Injector, mix 1-2 cups of Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement per 20 feet of row. Apply 0.5 lbs of row Pelletized Gypsum at first signs of flowering.

Peanut Pest & Disease Protection

Insects

Organic Controls

Horticulture Oil
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Thrips

Bug Buster-O
Aphids, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies, Moths, Armyworms, Corn Earworm

Monterey BT
Caterpillars, Cabbage Loppers

Garden Insect Spray
Thrips, Caterpillars, Armyworm, Leaf Miners, Moths

Take Down Garden Spray
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Moths

Diatomaceous Earth
Cutworms

Sluggo Plus
Slugs

Non-Organic Controls

Bug Buster II
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Thrips, Leafhoppers, Corn Earworms, Armyworm


Treat as needed using label instructions.

Common Diseases

Organic Controls

Crop Rotation and Select Resistant Varieties
Nematodes, Leaf Spot

Complete Disease Control
Gray Mold, Leaf Spots, Anthracnose

Liquid Copper Fungicide
Cercospra Leaf Spot, Pod Rot, Pythium

Garden Phos
Pythium, Downey mildew

Vegetable, Flower, Fruit and Ornamental Fungicide
Leaf Spot, Gray Mold, Rust, Anthracnose, Web Blotch


Treat as needed using label instructions. Apply Inoculants in plots that have not had peanuts planted in the last 5 years.

Harvesting, Preserving, and Storing Peanuts

When & How To Harvest Peanuts

You’ll know that the plant is ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow and the plant appears to be dying, usually 120 to 150 days after planting.. This is when it puts most of its energy into growing the seeds. Loosen the soil around plants with a garden fork and lift them by grasping at the base and pulling. Shake the dirt from the roots and pods and let the plants dry in the sun for a week (with the pods on top). Remove the pods from plants and spread them on newspaper in a cool, dry place (such as a garage) for several weeks. Cure peanuts in the sunshine for a few weeks; bring them indoors if rain is forecast. In cold climates or wet weather, hang peanut plants to cure in an airy but shaded place, a garden shed or attic. Peanuts should cure for about 2 months. When the leaves are dry and crumbly, take the nuts off the vines, roast them, and store them. If peanuts are not dry, place them in a mesh bag or cardboard box to dry another 2 or 3 weeks. If peanuts become moldy, place them in the trash. Peanut mold is a dangerous carcinogen.

Storing & Keeping Peanuts

Raw, unshelled peanuts can be kept in a dry, dark, well-ventilated place for up to 3 months. Dried-shelled peanuts can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months. Shelled peanuts can be sprouted, frozen, used for peanut butter, or roasted for snacks. Shelled peanuts can be stored briefly in airtight containers and refrigerated. For long-term storage, peanuts can be frozen.

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Peanut Growing Tips & Tricks

Roast Your Nuts

Roasting peanuts is one of the simplest yet tastiest ways to enjoy peanuts. Place the raw peanuts in a single layer inside a shallow baking pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For shelled peanuts, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, and for unshelled peanuts, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the shells or nuts themselves are lightly golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Mulching

Mulch around peanuts to keep the soil surface from crusting and becoming hard; this will allow pegs to penetrate the soil, as well as help to keep the planting beds weed-free and cultivate lightly to keep the soil loose. Mulching around peanuts is effective weed control and will make harvesting easier.

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