Peanuts, although considered a nut by most people, is actually a fruit legume that grows under the ground. Although being a fruit legume they have many of the nutritional benefits of a nut and they are easy to grow, even in the Arizona desert, if you know how. So we will answer the question: How Do You Grow Peanuts in Arizona?
Peanuts are easily grown in the alkaline soils of Arizona, by placing the seeds or plants into loose sandy soil in full sun to partial shade during the spring months (March 15th – April). Peanut seeds should be planted at a depth of 2 inches with a gap of 4 inches between each seed. The best varieties for growing in low desert are the Spanish and Virginia.
When choosing peanut seeds to plant you will need to buy from a seed catalogue or seed company as the peanuts in the store are either roasted or treated and will not readily germinate. Expect to wait from 110 to 135 days for plants to mature and peanuts are ready to harvest after 5 months.
When planting your peanut seed rows, ensure there is a space of 30 inches (2 feet to 3 feet) between the rows. This space will give ample growing room as peanut bushes can grow from 2 to 3 feet high. Its important not to remove the thin brown skin on the peanut when planting them as the seed will not germinate if it is removed.
Don’t forget to check out our video at the end of this article.
Young peanut plants can be thinned to 12 inches apart to allow room for further growth. The peanut bush looks much like a sweet pea bush with yellow flowers. These flowers are self pollinating and when fertilized will grow a thin tubelike structure called a ‘peg’ that will grow downward and into the ground. For more information on how peanuts form take a look at this article: Are Peanuts A Fruit, Vegetable or Nut. You will find the answer very intriguing and not what you may have expected.
The peanut will begin to form at the tip of the ‘peg’ under the ground. This is one reason why peanuts are also called ground nuts.
Soil temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are best for growing peanuts, however they are very frost tolerant and can withstand temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures rise to 100 degrees its best to shade plants with 50 percent shade cloth.
Peanut plants do best with periodic deeper waterings rather than frequent surface watering. Regular and thorough watering of the peanut plant is also good, however do not use mulch as the peanut grows under the ground. Fertilizer is optional and is often not needed in well prepared soil.
You will know when your peanuts are ready to harvest by the appearance of the peanut bush. When the leaves and foliage on the peanut bush begins to yellow, the peanuts below the ground are ready to be harvested. To harvest your peanut crop, simply loosen the soil around the bush and pull up the whole plant. The peanuts will still be clinging to the vine. You can expect 50 to 60 pods per plant with 1 to 2 seeds (peanuts) per pod.
Let the peanuts dry on the plant for 2 to 3 weeks in a warm, shaded airy place, then remove them from the vine. Remove the peanuts from the pod and they should be ready to eat or roast.
If you live in the State of Florida then please check out this article: Growing Peanuts in Florida
Can Peanuts Be Grown In The Desert?
Peanuts can be grown in the desert as long as they have at least 1 inch of rain or the equivalent if watering by hand per week. Since they prefer warmer temperatures and grow underground, desert conditions are ideal for growing peanuts provided they get enough water.
Just remember, when growing peanut plants in desert conditions or climates, when temperatures reach 100 degrees then plants need to be covered in 50 percent shade cloth to prevent sunburn. Peanuts can also withstand very low temperatures and can be grown indoors in pots. So whatever your climate, why not try growing Peanut Seeds scientifically classified as Arachis hypogaea and belongs to the bean family- “Fabaceae”
How Long Does It Take To Grow Peanuts?
From planting your peanut seeds in the ground to harvesting can take 4 to 5 months depending on the variety and type. Virginia peanuts can take 5 months from planting to harvesting, whereas Spanish peanuts take 4 months from planting to harvesting.
Peanut harvest starts in September and October in Arizona, so make sure they are planted in April and May. Peanuts have a relatively long growing season, taking 140-150 days (4 to 5 months) to mature before being ready to harvest.
Can You Grow Peanuts From Raw Peanuts?
You can grow peanuts from raw peanuts provided you leave the thin brown skin on the peanut. Its best to buy peanuts still in the shell or pod. You will need to remove the peanuts from the pod, keeping the thin brown skin on the peanut seed.
However, it is best to grow peanuts from seeds obtained from a nursery. Soaking the seeds overnight will help with germination. Plant the soaked peanuts into the soil about 2 inches deep in a sunny warm spot. Within a week, you should begin to see shoots breaking through the surface of the ground where you planted the peanuts. If frost is likely, you will need to cover the sprouts with plastic row covers.
When the plants reach six inches, carefully loosen the soil around the peanut plant to allow the pegs easier penetration. Water deeply at least 1 to 2 times per week and especially from 50 to 100 days after planting when the pods are growing closer to the surface.
Peanuts should be ready to harvest 120 to 150 days after planting depending on the variety and type.
Is It Illegal To Grow Peanuts?
It is not illegal to grow peanuts at home or commercially. However, commercial peanut growers needed a licence to grow a set poundage quota of peanuts prior to 2002 when the peanut licensing scheme was ended. The scheme was introduced back in 1949 to help save family farms. However it created an artificial peanut scarcity and pushed up prices.
Peanuts are an easy crop to grow in Arizona with little effort. They need regular watering and at least 5 months of hot, frost free weather from planting to harvesting. They can be enjoyed both raw, boiled and roasted.
Why not try growing your own. Its fun, easy and so healthy for you.
1 National Peanut Board: 5 Things You Don’t Know About Harvesting Peanuts
2 The New York Times: Nuts To The Peanut Law
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