Peanuts are a versatile and interesting food, suitable for any occasion. Whether you’re snacking or need a garnish, peanuts always come in handy. However, store-bought peanuts aren’t as satisfying as fresh ones off the plant. But, how long do you have to wait for them to grow?
Peanuts take approximately 4 to 5 months to grow and be ready for harvest. That said, some peanut varieties take as few as 90 days to become mature and ready for harvesting.
But there’s more to peanuts than growing time. In this article, we’ll take you through the entire process from planting to harvest so that you can grow them in your backyard. Let’s get down and dirty!
How Long Do Peanuts Take To Grow?
Being small as they are, it’s easy to assume that peanuts don’t take that long to grow. That assumption is correct as peanuts don’t take a long time to grow and be ready for harvest.
Depending on the variety, peanuts can take anywhere between 90 to 150 days to grow. You can try growing multiple different peanut varieties, and each sports a unique growth rate.
- Runner: 130 to 150 days
- Spanish: 120 days
- Virginia: 130 – 150 days
- Valencia: 95 to 120 days
While the growth rates are different, harvesting remains the same for all varieties.
How Do You Know Peanuts Are Ready To Harvest?
Peanuts, despite the name, are not nuts. They’re legumes that grow below the ground. You’ll find them flowering above ground and then fruiting below the ground. So, knowing when they’re ready to harvest isn’t as straightforward.
You’ll know the peanuts are ready to harvest when the leaves start yellowing and withering. When you pull out a pod, the inside should be dark, and the peanut should almost fill up the pod.
When you start to notice the leaves wither away, wait until there are almost no leaves left. Pull up a pod and check whether it’s fully grown and ready, and only then pull up the whole plant. Remember that the pods don’t mature evenly, and some won’t be fully developed or ready to eat. But you should have a good handful from a mature plant.
How Much Does One Plant Produce?
A single peanut plant can produce anywhere between 25 to 50 peanuts. The actual yield depends on factors like:
- Type of plant
- Maintenance and care
- Harvesting time
You should have a healthy, bountiful peanut plant with proper care and conditions. Additionally, peanuts boast a 2-month fruiting period when there’s no frost, so you’ll be rolling in peanuts for a while!
How To Grow Peanuts At Home
After this background information on growing peanuts, it’s time to get into the actual growing of the legumes. You don’t need a massive patch of land since a small container or patch of land works. perfectly. As long as there’s plenty of sunshine – you’re good to go.
As easy as it is to grow peanuts, there are still a few details to keep in mind. You can’t just stick a peanut into the soil and hope for the best. Here are some considerations:
When To Plant Peanuts
Peanuts are seasonal; they can’t be grown throughout the year. They need lots of sunshine and water, so the best time to plant them is after the first frost. Usually, peanuts are planted around the first of September.
The weather needs to start getting warmer, at least during the night, for you to plant them. That said, this differs from the South to the North of the country.
Since it’ll still be cold in the first few weeks of September, start planting indoors in a large peat pot. Move them to the garden or outdoors when it starts getting warm and the soil isn’t cold to the touch anymore.
When planting peanuts in the South, start outdoors and plant during the nighttime when temperatures are around 55°F (12.78°C). You also want to ensure the soil is warm to the touch and not too dry because of the heat or the cold.
Planting the seeds differs depending on whether you’re doing it indoors or outdoors. Eventually, all plants have to go outdoors, or at least to a container placed outdoors. But, here’s how to start planting peanuts.
- Use large peat pots for the purpose.
- Sow the seeds 1 inch ( 2.54 cm ) deep.
- Keep soil moist and water weekly.
- Transplant when the temperature is warmer.
- Space transplants 10 inches ( 25.4 cm ) apart for best results.
- Don’t bury the crown during transplanting.
- Sow seeds 2 inches ( 5.08 cm ) deep.
- Keep seeds 5 inches ( 12.7cm) apart.
- Plant the peanuts in rows that are 2 to 3 feet (0.60 – 0.91 m) apart.
- Water weekly.
- Make sure soil doesn’t crust over.
- Use a light mulch to prevent the ground from drying out.
Care doesn’t stop once you’ve sowed your seeds and transplanted your plants. There’s still a bunch of maintenance left!
- When the plants hit 1 foot ( 0.30m), hill the earth around the base of the peanut plant to allow the legumes to burrow into the soil.
- Lay down a light mulch to keep the soil from drying out.
- Provide at least one inch of water per week.
As mentioned above, you can tell when a plant is ready for harvesting by the leaves. Still, you can’t just yank the plant out; you’ll lose the peanuts to the soil.
Here’s the proper procedure:
- Lift pods with a garden fork and pull up the plants.
- Shake away the loose soil.
- Hang the plant to dry for two weeks.
- Let hulls dry.
- Remove seeds once hulls are dry.
Even when it comes to storage, you’ll need to be careful. There’s a big chance that your hard-earned peanuts could go to waste due to improper storage. Therefore:
- Store raw, unshelled peanuts in the dark for up to 3 months.
- You can store dried, shelled peanuts for up to 12 months.
Tips On Growing Peanuts
Since peanuts are so easy to grow, there are very few tips that we can offer you. That said, here are four essential tips to keep in mind.
- They need full sun, so either plant them outdoors or face them toward the sun.
- Keep the soil moist constantly.
- Standing water is your enemy.
- Plant at night when the average temperature is 55°F ( 12.78°C )
Peanuts take anywhere between 90 days to 150 days to grow and be ready for harvest. However, they’re easy and quick to grow if you meet the few needs. Even in the North, peanuts can still grow when the sun comes out and flourish in indoor gardens!
So, in a few months, you’ll have a flourishing peanut plant and peanuts for days!