How To Successfully Grow Peanuts in California

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How To Grow Peanuts in California
How To Grow Peanuts in California

Peanuts grow well in hot climates, such as their native home of South America. However, even if you don’t live in a tropical climate you can still grow peanuts, as they are capable of growing in a variety of zones from zone 5b through 10b. Since California is so large it ranges in growing zones from 5a to 11a depending on where you live, so most parts of California are productive to growing peanuts. So then, how do you grow peanuts in California?

To successfully grow peanuts in California, you will need a soil that is a deep sandy loam or sediment. This is a soil that does not bake, is easy to work and retains its moisture to encourage steady growth. The most profitable variety to grow is Virginia and should be planted between March 20th to the middle of May. Peanuts should be raw and soaked before planting them 3 inches deep to hasten sprouting.

These are the very basic and fundamental things you will need to get right to ensure a good growing plant or crop. We will now go more in-depth to help you understand how to get your peanut plants growing, thriving and pest free.

What Kind Of Soil Do Peanuts Grow Best In?

Peanuts grow best in a light sandy soil that does not bake and has a crumbly texture (friable) to allow the peanut plants ‘pegs’ to penetrate. California soils are ideal for peanut growing as they are generally sandy, loamy or claylike. If your soil is not light and sandy then you can still grow peanut plants but you will need to prepare and loosen your soil by using compost.

The soil should ideally also retain moisture to ensure a steady growth of the peanut plant. If your soil does not retain moisture then irrigation or regular watering during the growing season will be necessary. If you need a good fertilizer then take a look at the article Triple 16 Fertilizer Benefits

Take a look at the video below to help you grow the best possible peanuts.

What Conditions Do Peanuts Need To Grow?

Peanuts grow best in soils that are well-drained and loose soils. Peanuts require a soil temperature of 65 F (18 C) for proper germination and should be planted after frosts have passed. Clay like soils should be avoided as they tend to be poorly draining. The best varieties for home gardens include Early Spanish, Spanish and Virginia. Because peanuts are warm-season annuals they will require 120 to 150 frost free days (4 to 5 months) to reach maturity.

Care should be taken to keep the peanut plants free from any weeds. Weeds will compete with the peanut plants for nutrients.

The main pests you may need to contend with are red spiders, gophers, and squirrels. They can easily be poisoned if they become too much of a nuisance with your newly planted peanuts. Please take a look at our article: How Do Peanuts Grow for more tips on growing peanuts.

What Is The Best Month To Plant Peanut?

The best month to plant peanuts is the end of March and beginning of April as early planting is preferrable. However, most planting takes place in April.

The harvest for peanuts begins near the end of September and will continue until the middle of November, with the major portion of peanuts being picked during the month of October.

Most of the market for peanuts in California is in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

How Long Does Peanut Take To Grow?

Peanuts take four to five months to mature from planting to harvesting. Spanish will mature within four months, whereas Virginia peanuts take longer at four to five months. Plant your peanuts a few weeks after the average last frost in Spring for the best growing season.

Do Peanuts Grow In Southern California?

Peanuts grow in Southern California and thrive on the nonacidic sandy soil and warm growing season. Although conditions are good for peanut planting, you will mostly find home grown peanuts as commercial growing in Southern California died out due in part to competition from Japan.

So, growing peanuts in your home garden is very easy, however, If you are thinking of growing peanuts commercially, don’t rush into the venture on a large scale. If you do plant a few peanuts commercially, don’t expect a fortune in return. While you sometimes might sell your peanuts for 5 cents per pound with a cost 3 of cents per pound to produce, you also at times will sell for 2 cents per pound which could cost 4 cents per pound to produce. Most of the expense is in hiring pickers to pick your peanuts when crops are ready.[1]

Do Peanuts Grow in Northern California?

Peanuts will grow in Northern California. The trick for Northern gardeners to grow them successfully is to choose early cultivars such as Early Spanish and start these peanut plants indoors. They can then be transferred outdoors after the last frosts to finish maturing and finally be harvested before the colder weather sets in again.

How Do You Grow Peanuts in The Bay Area?

Peanuts can be grown in the Bay area, or more fully the San Francisco Bay Area, by choosing an early cultivar such as the Early Spanish variety. It is best to start these peanuts early indoors to keep them from any late frosts and then either transplant them outdoors or just leave them in a large enough container to continue growing indoors or on a patio. Wherever you grow them, make sure they are in a location that receives as much direct sun as possible per day.

Are Peanuts Hard To Grow?

Peanuts are not hard to grow and require little effort to get a good crop provided your soil is well draining and you have them planted in a location that gets direct sun. Keep them away protected from any frosts and make sure they get water every week, especially during the growing season.

Did you know what a peanut really is? Take a look at the article: Are Peanuts Fruit, Vegetable or Nut to find the answer. You might be surprised.

What Is The Best State To Grow Peanuts?

Georgia is the best State in the United States to grow peanuts. It is the largest producer of peanuts in the U.S. accounting for nearly 42% of all U.S. peanut production. Georgia’s peanut production is followed by Texas, Alabama and Florida.[2]

Virginia was the first State to grow peanuts grown in the United States.

In Conclusion

Peanuts grow very well in both Northern and Southern Florida due to the very good well-draining soil that peanut plants like. Early cultivars such as Early Spanish do very well in the Northern and Southern parts of California with the Virginia variety also doing well in the Southern areas.

Check out our articles: How To Grow Peanuts in Florida and Growing Peanuts in Arizona for more information on growing peanuts successfully.

Juan & Raquel

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgeable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

2 thoughts on “How To Successfully Grow Peanuts in California

  1. Howdy… my neighbor gives store peanuts to the squirrels. An unknow plant grew in my flower bed and I did not remove it because I liked how it looked. Suprise the plant produced six legumes. I live in the central San Joaquin Valley of California; zone 8. My soil type is a sandy loam. Your info states to soak the seeds first before planting in March to April.

    My question is how long do I let them soak them for?


    1. soaking for 8-12 hours is typically sufficient. By soaking the seeds for this duration, you should help to kickstart the germination process and give your legume plants a good start in your flower bed. Enjoy watching them grow!

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