Have you ever thought of growing peanuts? When I was a kid, we ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches with jelly and they were so good. In fact, for a time, peanut butter sandwiches were the only food one of my brothers would eat. He loved peanut butter back then.
Someone created the Mr. Peanut peanut butter maker as a toy for kids back in 1967 that made real peanut butter and he got it for his birthday. We bought peanuts and made quite a bit of peanut butter by pouring the peanuts in Mr. Peanuts hat. We would crank the crank on one of his ears and some not very smooth peanut butter would come out of his other ear onto a small tray he held. It was an ingenious toy and I wanted one of my own but never got one. If you have a food grinder, you can grind your own peanut butter that you can make from peanuts out of your garden. I want to try.
Growing peanuts in your backyard garden this year should be a lot of fun. We no longer carry the seeds but I want to try my hand at growing the delicious snack this spring (2023). It is something I have never tried before.
It is legal to grow peanuts for your own personal use. I understand that in order to grow them commercially, you must be licensed. It is always a good idea to check your state's laws. We are good in Texas. In fact, as I have mentioned many times over, our farm, before we bought it, was a peanut farm. I think it would be fun to grow something here that was grown for many years before we ever moved out here.
As of 2/24/2023, I have not grown peanuts. I received my peanut seeds this week but they are not supposed to go in the ground in my area until April so there will be more information and photos as I plant them in April.
We used to sell peanut seeds a long time ago, but we no longer do. I went on Amazon and ordered some for myself from one of the seed vendors (spring 2023). I have not yet received them. Some seed companies carry them, others don't. I have read that you can go to the grocery store and buy raw peanuts that are whole and plant those. Just don't plant the roasted, salted nuts because they won't work! The peanuts must be raw and whole to grow.
I am thinking of ordering some more peanut seeds just in case the ones I ordered aren't any good. You never know with all of these fly by night seed companies that appear overnight on Amazon.
I ordered some Tennessee Reds on February 20, 2023 and I ordered some Virginia Jumbo on February 21, 2023, both from different sellers on Amazon. We will give it a try.
Update: I got both kinds in this week and I will be planting soon. 2/23/2023
In our area, South Central Texas, April is the perfect time for growing peanuts. Clear your beds and get your soil ready. You need some loose soil at 65° Fahrenheit. We have sand so it is just perfect for growing peanuts. Below are some growing zones and when it is best to plant peanuts.
You will need to open the shells and take your peanuts out of the shell but be careful not to halve the peanuts that are in there. Plant each shelled peanut about two inches deep and space the peanuts five to six inches apart. Space the rows two feet apart. Peanut seeds should come up in seven to ten days. About 30 days later, the plants will begin to flower. They are self-pollinating so you don't need to worry about pollinators, although we have tons of them here.
Most of the peanut varieties grow a bushy plant that is about 18 inches tall. Remember, you won't see the peanuts. They grow underground. See below.
Once the flowers bloom, they grow a thin stem out of the flower that goes down into the ground and develops the peanuts. This is called "pegging" and this is why the soil needs to be loose. You will need to water your peanuts on a regular basis so that the pods will develop properly. Here, the sun gets so hot and we never get enough rain. For an idea on how the soil should feel, you can read our germination tips.
I was supposed to plant my peanut seeds on April 1 but I forgot! It was a busy Saturday. I was walking out to check on my potatoes this morning, and it hit me. I went back into the house, grabbed my two varieties of peanuts and headed for the raised beds to plant them.
Update: April 14, 2023 - My peanuts are still not coming up. Just this week, our temperatures at night have gotten down to 48° and the lower 50s. The soil should be 65°. When I planted them, it was warm. This is such an unusual spring. I am hoping that as it warms up, my peanuts will still come up.
Update: April 15, 2023 - I believe a peanut has come up overnight! It has been warm the last two nights and when I went out early this morning, something new has pushed up. I will wait until I see more than one but I think it is happening!
Update: May 10, 2023 - 14 of the Tennessee Red peanuts are up and growing but zero of the Virginia Jumbo peanuts have come up. I guess the Tennessee Reds are more compatible to the climate of Texas. I grew both varieties in two beds that are next to each other so they are both getting the same amounts of sunlight and water. I felt sure some of the Virginia ones would germinate. It has certainly been warm enough now with temperatures getting up into the 80s and 90s now and going down at night into the 60s and 70s.
As you know from above, I planted a bed of Virginia Jumbo peanuts next to the Tennessee Reds but they never came up. I had a big surprise on Monday, May 15, 2023! One of the Virginia Jumbo peanut plants has germinated! So far, it is the only one but I am excited about it.
This morning, I checked on my peanut plants and guess what? Some of them are growing yellow flowers! This is so exciting! The peanuts grow underground so I am not sure about the flowers but we will watch and learn.
When I went out to put my chickens away tonight, I checked on my peanuts. I was shocked to find two peanut plants left that were alive and two that were close to being dead. All the rest were completely gone. Looks like one of our new outdoor workers decided to do some spring cleaning where my peanut plants used to be. She pulled them up as weeds. The two dead ones that are in the ground, may have been pulled up and then replanted but I am not sure. The dirt has been moved around. Words cannot express my anger and disappointment right now. I am so upset. I was so very excited to plant peanuts and then only half came up.
This evening, after I put my chickens away, I noticed my Virginia Jumbo peanut plant is gone, just vanished. So, now I have one, the Tennessee Red, left. How? I guess the better question to ask is for how long do I have this last plant? The leaves have not turned yellow yet so it is not ready for harvest. I am so disgusted. So were my culprits gophers or humans or both?
All weekend, I have been passing by the only peanut plant that is still out there. The dead plant that was replanted by someone next to this one with one live leaf has finally died so this is it. Now the outdoor workers have been let go so maybe it will still be there on August 4, about a week and a half more until it has been in the ground for 120 days. The leaves of the plant have to turn yellow and then it is done. This plant is very green.
I am planning to plant some in bags this week. Maybe they will be allowed to grow unless we hire more people who go where they shouldn't. Turns out growing peanuts is not so easy, at least not for me.
I wanted to say that my lone Tennessee Red Peanut plant is still out in the garden bed as of 7am today. This morning, I planted a new pack of Tennessee Red Peanuts in pots out by my greenhouse. If it truly was gophers getting some of the peanut plants, then they should not be able to get these. But anything is possible in the world of gardening, so we shall see. I still have one pack left but I think I will save that for spring planting.
It is now September 18, 2023 and I have one peanut plant that came up in a cloth pot. A caterpillar was eating its leaves this morning so I sent the caterpillar to its just reward.
Somewhere between 90 and 120 days, the leaves of your peanut plants will turn yellow. When that happens, it is time to harvest your peanuts. We have sand here and that is all so it will not be hard to dig the plants up. Be sure that you gently remove the plants from the ground with a garden fork or shovel, making sure you get the pods that are in the ground because that is where the peanuts are! The peanuts will be attached to the peanut plants by the pegs that grew from the flowers and went underground.
You can expect about 100 to 130 peanuts from each peanut plant you have planted.
This morning, Thursday, September 21, 2023, I decided to dig up my only surviving peanut plant since it had turned brown. I pulled it up easily and I got four and one half peanuts. A peanut is considered to be two, sometimes three, peanuts inside of a shell. So I got four shells with two peanuts each and one tiny one with one peanut. I just don't get it. How did the guy who owned our farm ever make it out here? He grew peanuts for many years, yet I got four and a half peanuts.
I have the plant lying on an outdoor table, drying the peanuts. I will try planting them as I can only get one peanut to come up so far out of a pack of 30 from my second planting in August.
Growing peanuts was easy, right? (Not for me with gophers and teens.) Now that they are harvested, you need to cure them (unless you plan to boil them.) Once the peanuts have been harvested, shake away the dirt and let them dry outside in the sun for a few days. I would not let them stay on the ground because we have all sorts of pests and animals out here that would eat them. Maybe spread them out on your deck where they are fenced off from deer and gophers, not to mention silly puppies who love to destroy things.
After a few days in the sun, cut the pods off and put them on trays to cure in a cool, dry, well-ventilated indoor place like a shed or a basement, if you are lucky enough to have one. We don't have basements here. The pods will need to cure for about three weeks. Then they can be roasted or even made into peanut butter. I remember when I was a kid we had one of those Mr. Peanut peanut butter makers and we would turn peanuts into peanut butter. It was messy and fun.
You will want to make sure the shells are clean if you are roasting your peanuts in the shell. Or shell them and then roast them in your oven at 350° for about 25 minutes. Of course, peanuts can be eaten raw as well.
If you are going to boil your peanuts as opposed to roasting them, don't cure them at all. Boil them while they are fresh and moist.
Today, July 10, 2023, I have ordered more peanut seeds as well as ten gallon potato grow bags. I will try growing peanuts, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in them in my garden area and, hopefully, keep all of the thieves out be they animal or human.
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