There is no denying that freshly grown peanuts are always going to taste better and be better for you than those bought from a store. You might be surprised to find out that they are easy to grow at home and grow below the ground in a unique way that is unlike any other fruit legume. So how do peanuts grow?
Peanuts grow below the ground by a feature known as Geocarpy. Planted peanut seeds will produce a shoot after 10 days, which will then mature into a bush above the ground. Yellow flowers will begin to emerge from the plant after 40 days. Each flower will produce a thin stalk called a ‘peg’ which will grow down and into the ground where the fruit will form at the end of this ‘peg’ underground.
As you can see, this is an unusual process that is unique to the peanut plant. Most nuts will grow on trees, but because the peanut actually grows underground it is known as a groundnut. It is also not really a nut but a fruit legume, as you can find out in full detail by reading this article: Are Peanuts a Fruit, Vegetable or Nut?
Because peanuts grow underground, they may be contaminated with aflatoxins, caused by a fungus, which can cause liver cancer. Because of this, care should be taken when growing and harvesting your peanuts to ensure they are correctly grown, and when harvested they are properly washed and dried. Please continue reading, as we show you how to safely do this later in the article.
Can I Grow A Peanut Plant From A Peanut?
It’s so tempting to just want to plant a peanut from the bag of peanuts that you bought from the store to see if it will grow. The excitement of seeing a peanut growing in your own container or backyard is just so thrilling. But the question is, can you grow a peanut plant from a peanut?
A peanut plant can be grown from a raw peanut. It is best to remove the raw peanut from the shell and soak it in water overnight to ensure successful and quick germination. The soaked peanut should be sown in well-draining soil about 2 to 4 inches deep and will shoot above the ground after 5 to 10 days.
Can You Grow Store Bought Peanuts?
You can use raw peanuts bought from stores for planting and growing peanut plants. Before planting, remove the shell and soak in water ensuring the skin of the peanut, the red-brown paper layer, is still intact. If you soak them longer, after a few days you will see them produce small green sprouts.
Please bear in mind that the peanuts for growing need to be raw. If your peanuts are blanched, boiled or roasted, they will not sprout and grow.
Are Peanuts Difficult To Grow?
When it comes to actually growing things for yourself, sometimes you might wonder if the effort is really worth it. Particularly if you are like me and find that some things you plant, just don’t seem to want to grow. So, the question is, are peanuts difficult to grow?
Peanuts are very easy to grow and can be grown in containers or outside in the garden. They thrive in warm climates, provided they have ample water and well- draining soil. They prefer full sunlight and are hindered or killed by frosts. You will need at least 5 months of warm, frost-free weather to grow and harvest your peanuts.
How Many Peanuts Do You Get From One Plant?
Each healthy peanut plant will give a yield of 25 to 50 peanuts. Certain high-yielding varieties, such as the Justpink variety have been known to produce upwards of 100 to 200 peanuts per plant in optimal conditions.
Here are some unusual high-yielding varieties of peanuts that you may not have tried or even known about. South American local varieties were tested in Switzerland by Lubera to find a varied assortment of peanuts with high yields and colourful diversity.
|Peanut Variety||Picture of Peanut||Yield Per Plant||Colour|
|Justmore®||180 peanuts per plant when planted in May||Deep red|
|Justpink®||Over 200 peanuts per plant||Pink|
|Justwhite®||200 peanuts per plant||White|
|Justbehappy®||80 peanuts per plant||Red and White Stripes|
How To Prevent Aflatoxin Contamination In My Home Grown Peanuts
Aflatoxin contamination in growing peanuts is often due to inadequate water. When peanuts are developing under the ground, they are not at risk of contamination until water moisture in the seed decreases due to drought and an increase in soil temperatures. So, the key is to maintain high moisture activity by keeping your peanut plants well irrigated until harvesting. The high water activity maintains the natural defence mechanisms of the peanuts against aflatoxins.
Peanuts, also need to be kept free of pests to ensure extensive pod damage does not lower the peanuts’ ability to fight fungal attacks.
After peanuts are harvested, you can prevent any aflatoxin contamination by rapidly drying peanuts to or below a water activity (0.83) that cannot support aflatoxin production.
What Is The Best Month To Plant Peanut?
The best month to plant peanuts is the beginning of May when the soil is moist and warm and the threat of frost has passed. They may be planted anytime between April and June, however, planting in June will not allow time for dry peanuts (when their shells have hardened to a brittle state) to reach maturity before the colder months set in.
When planting peanuts you will need at least 5 months, depending on the variety, of frost-free warm weather for the plants to reach maturity and the peanuts ready for harvesting.
Take a look at our article: Growing Peanuts in Florida for a beginners and experts guide on how to grow peanuts.
How Big Of A Container Does A Peanut Plant Need?
Peanut plants need a container 500mm wide and 300mm to 600mm deep to allow enough room for the peanuts to develop under the soil. You will pull up the entire plant when they are ready to harvest, which is usually 4 to 5 months after planting.
 National Cancer Institue: Aflatoxins
 Lubera Edibles
 Taylor & Francis Online: Management and prevention of mycotoxins in peanuts
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