If you are nuts for peanuts, then you’re in luck, because you can now have your own peanut plant at home! These five simple DIY steps will guide you on how you too, can grow peanuts from your very own garden.
Native to South America, peanuts have made their way over to America, and are thriving. Warm tropical climates make the peanut plant a southern crop, and so they grow really well across the south of the country, where the majority of American peanut plantations can be found.
Unlike what their name suggests, peanuts are not nuts. They are in fact a legume, and more like a pea, than a nut. They grow underground rather than on trees as nuts so commonly do.
The health benefits of peanuts are impressive. Despite their small size, these little snacks pack a punch. They are nutrient-rich: containing numerous B vitamins, are high in potassium and phosphorus, and are a great source of fiber and protein. The fats in peanuts are also healthy. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids aid in developing a balanced and healthy diet, and there are plenty of them in peanuts.
Eat them roasted, salted, spread on your toast, as peanut butter, to make low carb cookies or baked into a cake. But be warned, despite their various health benefits, peanuts are also calorie-rich. So to ensure you get the most health benefits from them, eat peanuts in moderation.
How to Plant and Grow Your Own Peanut Plant
If you love peanuts, then you will be glad to hear that growing your own peanut plant at home is very easy. Just follow these five simple steps, and start growing your own peanuts to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
The entire process from planting to harvesting takes about 4 to 5 months.
When to Plant Peanuts
Plant your peanut plant in late spring, after the last frost, through until May. This is when the soil temperatures reach between 65° to 70°F, ideal for peanut-plant growth.
How to Plant Peanuts
- Peanut plants can be grown both in a pot or in a garden bed. If you live in a colder climate, planting your peanut plant in a pot will be better for keeping the roots warm. The pot should be at least 12-24 inches deep.
- Make sure to place the pot in a sunny spot.
- Peanut plants love sandy soils best.
- Plant the seeds 12 inches deep and 18 inches apart from each other.
Growing Peanut Plants
- Peanut seedlings sprout roughly 10 days after planting and will produce small yellow flowers.
- These flowers appear on the plant after about 6 weeks.
- Once the plant has fertilized, the flowers begin “pegging”. This process is fairly unique to peanut plants and involves the flowers bending down and going into the soil. When the flowers are in the soil, they produce the nuts. Pegging lasts about a month.
Watering and Harvesting Peanuts
Peanut plants need lots of water. So from planting, make sure to water your peanut plant with about ½ to 2 inches of water per week, depending on rainfall and seed type.
Your peanut plant is ready for harvesting when the plant begins to die back and the plant has dried. This should take between 120 to 160 days after planting.
When this happens:
- Pull up the plants with the roots and shake off the soil. Leave the pods attached to the roots. Make sure to do this over a period of dry weather.
- Place your plants either in the sun or alternatively in a dry room. Leave them out to dry for a few days.
- Pick the peanut pods from the roots and lay them out flat in a dry room for another 1-2 weeks.
- Brush any excess dirt from the pods. Be mindful here not to clean the peanut pods with water, as you want to keep them as dry as possible before eating them.
And there you have it! Now your peanuts are ready to be eaten any which way you prefer. You can eat them raw, or roast them in the oven for around 15-18 minutes. Enjoy your homegrown peanuts as a light snack, added to meals and desserts, or blended to make peanut butter.
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