Plant peanuts in the garden 1 to 2 weeks after the last frost when the soil has warmed. Peanuts are a very tender, long-season crop. They grow best in regions where there are at least 120 frost-free days. The soil temperature should be at least 60°F (16°C) before planting peanuts.
Peanut seeds are usually sown directly in the garden after the last frost-free date. In short-season regions, planting in the garden earlier can be risky and starting seeds indoors may be a better option. Indoors, sow seeds in individual containers so that seedlings can be transplanted without disturbing the roots. Start seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.
Peanut seeds can be planted either in or out of the pod. If the pod is thin, it is best not to shell the peanut. When removing shells be careful not to tear the red skin; if the skin surrounding the seed is torn germination will likely not occur.
Planting peanuts in the garden
Peanuts require full sun. Grow peanuts in loose, well-drained soil, a sandy loam is ideal. Loosen the soil to 18 inches (45cm) or deeper. If the soil is heavy, cool, or damp, seeds can rot.
Peanuts can grow in poor soil, but the yield will be improved by adding aged compost rich in phosphorus and potassium (add bone meal to the soil). Peanuts are legumes that build the soil; they need no nitrogen.
Keep the soil surface loose which allows runners to implant. You can mulch to cover the runners.
Peanuts mature in 110 to 120 days. Harvest can begin once the foliage has yellowed and seeds fill the pods. Even after top growth yellows or had been killed by frost, nuts will continue to mature. Dig or pull the plant using a spade or garden fork to unearth all of the peanuts in the soil. Cure peanuts for about 1 month in a warm, dry place.
Peanut planting dates
(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)
|Average date of the last frost||Planting dates|
|Jan. 30||Feb. 15-May 15|
|Feb. 8||Mar. 1-May 15|
|Feb. 18||Mar. 20-June 1|
|Feb. 28||Apr. 1-June 1|
|Mar. 10||Apr. 10-June 1|
|Mar. 20||Apr. 20-June 1|
|Mar. 30||May 1-June 1|
|Apr. 10||May 10-June 10|
|Apr. 20||May 20-June 10|
|Apr. 30||Season may be too short|
|May 10||Season may be too short|
|May 20||Season may be too short|
|May 30||Season may be too short|
|June 10||Season may be too short|
Peanut planting details
- Sowing depth: 1.5 inches
- Space between plants: 12-18 inches
- Days to harvest: 110-120
- Suggested varieties: Warm regions: Virginia Bunch, Mammoth Virginia, Jumbo Runner; Cool regions: Red Tennessee, Early Spanish
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