We tried our hand at growing peanuts for the first time this year. We planted the nuts into the newest garden plot, just reclaimed from a bramble and forest. The soil in this plot is very rocky, and has minimal organic content. It is actually much closer to a gravel pit than I had imagined. While the peanut is a warm loving, southern favorite, I think most of our low production volume was related to the soil conditions.
Looking at how large the plants should grow, I think plant spacing should be 10 inches along the row. I think these plants would like long, warm temperatures, and I bet they would really like sandy soil. The areas were we had a lot of clay, they did not seem to do well at all.
The peanut shells are located off of "pegs" or flowering stems and bend down to the soil and the peanut develops under the soil level. At flowering time, you may want to loosen soil to assure the pegs can easily grow into the soil for pod production.
Back to where I started this post: we all love peanut butter. 1/2 a cup of peanut butter has been known to be consumed in at a meal. We prefer to make our own peanut butter by grinding roasted peanuts. After grinding, we place the jars in the refrigerator, and have no issues with the oil separating out. Ground peanut butter is more compact than whole peanuts, so it takes around 2 cups of peanuts to make a cup of peanut butter.
When you consider the work required to plant, water, weed, harvest, shell, roast, salt, store, and then grind; you can see this process takes a lot of work. And when you eat as much as we do, well, it gives you an appreciation of how much effort is required for this food item. We are not discouraged by the effort level, but I do see that we need a lot more land devoted to peanuts if we are to be self sufficient. I also think that if we were truly self sufficient, we would have to use less peanut butter. The total work involved is quite high, and it likely should be a "feast food".
If you have not tried growing peanuts, I would encourage you to try them. They were no problem at all, and just need some good soil. If you live in the north, get them going as soon as you can, as they like a long growing season.
- How to grow Peanuts (web)