Peanuts are one of the most used foods across all different cuisines. Surprisingly, they are actually fairly easy to grow. The most common question that amatuer peanut growers have is, how often you should water your peanut plants?
You should water peanuts as often 2-4 times a week, providing about an inch (2.5 cm) of water per week for proper growth. Once the flowers start to turn yellow, all watering should stop. Drip irrigation is ideal to water peanuts because it keeps the soil from becoming too saturated or dry.
In this article, I’ll explain how to properly water peanut plants. I’ll also provide some important things to consider during the peanut plant growing process and explore the history of the peanut plant.
Watering Peanut Plants
The most critical time to get peanut watering right is at the beginning of their growth. It’s important to remember to monitor rainfall to prevent overwatering your peanut plants. They should be given water two to four times per week. Of course, if your climate is subject to higher rainfall amounts, you can water them less often.
A unique feature of the peanut plant’s growth is that the plant fruits underground, yet the flower grows above ground. It usually takes about ten days for the first seedlings to sprout above the ground. Around day forty, growth should be about eighteen inches tall and it’ll begin to sprout flowers.
After the plants bloom, the ‘pegs’ will begin growing down into the soil. It typically takes 140 to 150 days (or about 4-5 months) from start to finish for a peanut plant to grow and be ready for harvest.
Once the flowers begin to turn yellow, usually in the early fall, it means it’s time to stop watering the plants altogether. After 10 to 14 days, the peanuts will be ready for harvest.
Drip Irrigation For Peanuts
A lot of peanut farmers use drip irrigation to water their peanut plants. One advantage of this strategy is that it can cut water usage in half due to less water loss due to evaporation. Other watering methods leave more water in the sun for more extended periods, which causes a good portion of it to evaporate.
Another advantage to drip irrigation is it prevents the peanut plants from being overly saturated. When water is sprayed or dumped on the plant through other methods, it can cause the soil to be too waterlogged, which hurts the growth of the peanuts. On the other hand, it also prevents the dirt from becoming too dry. A drip irrigation system allows the plants to receive water throughout the day instead of just once or twice.
Climate For Growing Peanuts
The best climates for growing peanuts are warm for long periods. Farmers plant peanuts right after the year’s last frost to prevent the plants from experiencing any freezing. Ideally, the crops need at least 120-150 days without ice or snow to grow correctly.
Peanuts need at least eight hours of light per day, so they should be planted in areas where they can receive full sunlight. Another good idea would be to cover the plants with plastic row covers for protection in a late-season or spring frost. The plastic cover will allow the plants to continue receiving the sunlight they need and protect them from low temperatures.
The soil that you plant the peanuts in should not be clay-based or in an area used to grow other legumes in recent years. Instead, the soil should be loose and well-drained, and the seeds should be placed about eight feet apart and about two inches deep into the ground.
An important piece of peanut growth is the correct fertilization of the plants. Fertilizers can be a tricky thing for peanut plants because they are extremely delicate and can experience fertilizer burn fairly easily. One way to avoid this is to work the fertilizer into the soil instead of pouring it directly into the seed furrow or over the plant.
Instead, it’s ideal to fertilize peanut plants by mixing the fertilizer into the soil. It’s
recommended to first test the soil you intend to plant peanuts in to verify that it has a pH of 5.8-6.2. If the pH is below this range, limestone is a great way to add calcium back to the soil and raise the pH to the desired range.
Another benefit of using limestone to fertilize the soil is that it provides calcium to the plant. Peanuts require a lot of calcium to prevent pod rot. Sufficient calcium also allows the peanuts to fill their pods and maintain a high quality of the crop.
The best way to be sure that peanuts are correctly fertilized is to allow them to receive residual fertilization. This is typically achieved by planting them in an area where another well-fertilized crop is located. This, paired with the soil testing, will give you optimal prevention of over-fertilizing your peanuts.
Other Things To Consider When Growing Peanuts
Worms and leafhoppers most threaten peanut plants. These pests attack the above-ground portion of the plant. Leafhoppers attack the plants by sucking the juice from the plant’s leaves. The two most common worms that attack peanut plants are the velvet bean caterpillar and the armyworm. Both of these worms eat the leaves of the plants and cause them to turn brown and die.
Another of the most common insects to attack peanut plants is the thrip. These tiny bugs crawl in folded leaflets and buds to feed. The plants will begin to look scarred and are typically affected by thrips in the early spring.
Peanuts and the products made from them are some of the most popular products in the U.S. today. The growth in popularity of the plant in the U.S. began in the early 1900s and has allowed the U.S. to become one of the top producers of the crop in the world.
Most peanut crops can be found in the Southern part of the U.S., with extended periods without frost and ample moisture. Peanuts are reasonably easy to grow compared to other plants and take less water than other nuts. Now go forth and grow some peanuts!