How to Grow and Harvest Peanuts
Peanuts are native to South Africa and well adapted to our climate, especially the warmer parts of South Africa. We stock a great selection of Peanut Seeds at Glen Seeds. Groundnuts are regarded as nuts in a culinary sense, however in a botanical sense it is far removed from nuts and are classified as legumes. After all peanuts don’t grow on trees…
Growth Habit, Soil Preparation and feeding for Peanuts
Peanuts does not require good soil and normally does fine in any spot, however make sure your soil for peanuts are loose and well drained, clay soils that gets waterlogged is not ideal for peanuts.
Now here is something truly remarkable about ground nuts you probably did not know:
The plants of peanuts produce small yellow self-pollinating flowers. These flowers appear on stems just above the soil and after pollination they bend and push into the soil 3 to 7 cm’s deep. The tips then develop underground seedpods that contain the peanuts. These seedpods are also known as pegs or peduncles.
Apart from previous being interesting, why is it worth mentioning? When you know previous, one of the most important aspects of growing peanuts will be well understood: Make sure the soil in which you plant your peanut seeds is very loose. Ensuring a fair amount of compost won’t just aide in nutritional requirements but also helps to keep the soil loosened for the flower stems to easily penetrate the soil in order to form the required pods.
We recommend slightly hilling up with additional loose soil around the plants after the flowers started to form or when they are busy withering, just make sure you do not cover the flowers. This will also aide in the formation of seedpods, by providing fresh loose soil for pegs to set.
As with other legumes, do not add any nitrogen, present in most fertilisers, to the plants. Legumes improve your soil by producing its own nitrogen, which will stay in the soil after you lifted the plants.
Ground nuts are long season crops that don’t ask for much apart from full sun, water and some love. Your patience will be rewarded.
Peanuts have virtually no pests to worry about. We did mention they don’t ask for much, right?
Planting times for peanuts in South Africa
Plant peanuts direct in middle to late spring when average temperatures start to become nice and hot. Average temperatures should be at least 18 degrees Celsius. If you really can’t wait you can start planting peanuts indoors in a warm spot earlier and then transplant when the conditions outside becomes suitable. We do however not advocate this method since we are of the opinion that, on balance it is better to plant direct at the right time.
Germination can take anything from 7 to 21 days. Keep soil moist during this time, but not soggy, peanut seeds easily rot in soggy soil.
Please note: Planting times supplied is in a general South African sense and is based on typical South African Highveld conditions. Your particular area of South Africa might vary, for instance if you live in Tzaneen you have summer all year long and can grow summer crops January to December!
Peanut Plant Spacing
Standard Small types 10 to 15 centimeters apart
Large Types 15 cm apart
Days to harvest
In optimum climate and conditions harvesting will typically be between 120 and 150 days, however it might take a bit longer in certain areas of the country.
When your peanut plant leaves start to turn yellow you know it’s time to harvest!
Loosen the plants with a fork as deep as you can and pull the entire plants with seedpods. Remove excess soil. Tie the plants in bunches and hang to dry out of sunlight but preferably still in a warm spot for at least two weeks. When the husks are entirely dry you can remove the tasty peanuts.
Eat them raw or roast them which are tastier to some palates and also safer.
Click to view which Peanut Seeds are available to you