Saturday, 8 September 2007

Going Peanuts!

Tracy from Sunny Corner Farm asked for tips on growing Peanuts so here's some info I've researched on the ones I've planted.

Peanuts - Virginian - Arachis hypogaea
My seeds came from New Gippsland Seeds and Bulbs

They are legumes - plants that, with the help of bacteria in the soil, obtain nitrogen from the air and then store it in nodules on their roots; like peas, beans and clover.

Peanuts flower as other plants do then the ends of the stems form pods that then bury themselves in the ground to form their seeds (one or two) in little shells. This is called 'pegging' because of this they need a loose soil that's well dug and well drained.

They don't like frosts but can be started under shelter in pots or containers from which they can easily be removed so as not to disturb their roots too much. I've planted mine in large toilet roll holders (about 8cm across) as these will either slide off at planting or be left on to break down in the soil. Depends how much they have broken down by the time they are planted.

If planting directly into the soil wait until the soil is warm and frosts have gone. Plant in full sun in a furrow so that they can be hilled up as they grow (like potatoes). Plant them 15cm apart and they should be up in 12 days if the soil temperature is 23C. They will take longer if its colder, just make sure they don't rot in cold wet soil.

Heavy feeder's they love well rotted manure and/or compost. They will appreciate a dose of potash (potassium) so mine will get a dose of comfrey tea and some comfrey leaves as a mulch.

That's as long as they grow that is...but at least they've germinated which is further than I've managed in the past.
But I have to get them past the stage where the earwigs will destroy them.
Then they have to survive our hot summer... they won't be ready until Autumn!! eek

This information came from:
Keith Smith's book The Australian Organic Gardener's Handbook
and the seed packet!

Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.
~James A. Garfield~


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