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Peanuts: Grow your own

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Growing your own Peanuts is easy according to people who grow them. The peanut is a perennial plant belonging to the pea family. Peanuts are similar to dwarf beans to grow but with a quirky twist. What’s unusual is that after flowering, the pods produced from the flowers bury themselves in the ground where the fruits ripen.

How to Grow:

Plant in full sun, in loose, well-drained soil rich in compost, well rotted manure or other organic matter. The soil must be loose so that the pods can bury themselves and grow.

Peanuts require at least 4 months of frost-free days to reach harvest. Sow peanuts in the garden 3 to 4 weeks after the average last frost date in spring.

peanutsPeanut plants are quick growing and will grow anything from 15cm and 40cm tall. Yellow, sweet-pea-like, self-pollinating flowers appear in summer. After flowering, the pods bury themselves in the ground where the fruits ripen. It is suggested that you plant 10 plants per person per household to produce enough nuts for the family. As the plants grow mound up the soil around the plants to support them. If plants start to look a little dull feed with a liquid fertiliser to give them a boost.

Container growing. Peanuts can be grown in containers but allow enough room for flower stems to dip into the soil to set nuts; choose a container at least 50 cm wide and 20cm deep.

Harvest:

Peanuts will be ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and begin to wither, usually 4 to 5 months after planting or when frosts start. Lift each plant with a fork and turn upside down in the sun for a few days. After the plants have wilted shake the excess soil from the roots and place them inside somewhere to completely dry out.

Once dry remove soil from the pods and shell nuts are required. Store once shelled in a cool, dry well ventilated place. They can last up to 1 year once shelled.

Shelled peanuts can be sprouted, frozen, or used for peanut butter, or roasted for snacks .