Despite the complex weather conditions required by peanuts, they’re still considered one of the heartier plants. Still, farmers must be careful about when they start growing them to ensure they’ll be ripe before the first frost. However, there’s a lot that goes into the growing process, including keeping them at the right temperature.
Peanuts need a temperature between 65-86°F (18-30°C) to grow, with 86-93°F (30-34°C) being the ideal range for proper germination. The soil should be 65°F (18°C) at least for them to grow correctly. If temperatures reach above 93°F (34°C) or below 52°F (11°C), peanut plants can die or delay harvest.
Farmers have clearly found a way to get these unique legumes to grow almost anywhere. It requires a balance of proper timing, modern farming techniques, and a little TLC. If you’re curious how and where these plants are grown, continue reading to learn all you need to know on the topic!
Best Climates for Growing Peanuts
Peanuts are native to South America and thus accustomed to mild, warm, and consistent temperatures. They need soil that’s easily drained and without excessive moisture buildup, while also never being allowed to dry out. However, peanuts are grown from Asia to the Americas today, proving they’re a hearty plant.
Peanuts grow in a variety of climates, thanks to modern farming and cultivation practices. They even thrive in colder regions of Europe and North America, so long as they are sprouted in greenhouses.
None of these continents come close to China, the number one top producer. China grows over 17 billion tonnes of peanuts every year.
Peanuts aren’t a native species to the country, and much of the country is a lot cooler than South America. Why are peanuts capable of growing and flourishing in this climate?
It’s a combination of the species of peanut coupled with modern growing methods that make this possible. Peanuts are grown in almost every province of China, and the temperatures vary wildly, from 23-70°F (-5 to 21°C).
Peanuts like it to be warm but not blisteringly hot. If the temperatures drop below 52°F (11°C), the plants either die or go dormant. If it exceeds 93°F (32°C), they suffer heat stroke and dehydration.
If this happens in a region with long or never-ending summers, it’s annoying but not the end of the world. The harvest will simply be delayed, as long as they avoid cold weather pathogens. However, for farmers in colder regions, it could destroy their crops. It’s better to start germinating your seeds in early spring rather than wait until after the last frost.
Nonetheless, despite these struggles, peanuts thrive so long as they’re planted in the warmer periods and well maintained.
When Should You Plant Peanuts?
You should plant peanuts no later than the first or second week of March if you’re in the mid western region of the U.S. In these cold regions, you must plant sprouts in a warmed greenhouse to protect them from frost. In tropical climates, planting is dependent on seasonal rains.
Technically, you can plant peanuts all year round. Of course, this depends on the country and the altitude. For example, rain and flooding is the determining factor for planting in places such as South America. Therefore, growing seasons focus on the dryer months rather than whether or not it’s warm enough.
For much of the northeastern states of the USA, you can start planting peanuts around the first week of April, as this is typically when frost no longer occurs.
However, if you live in the northern parts of Pennsylvania or Massachusetts, growers must ensure mature peanuts by late July or early August to avoid the mid-August frost that often occurs. To do this, start germinating seeds in March.
Greenhouses are the easiest way to germinate, but you can also try laying down top bedding such as straw, hay, and leaves. These act as an insulator to the seeds beneath the soil and tend to protect the seed even after they germinate. This is especially true in the tri-state area and for parts of the Midwest and northwestern states. In these regions, farmers and growers certainly need heated greenhouses.
Although, this may not be the case in places such as Maine, Vermont, and other parts of New England. New England is known to have harsh and cold springs, up until May at times.
How Long Does It Take for Peanuts To Mature?
It takes a full 120 days for peanuts to mature fully. They may require more time based on the conditions and warmth of the season. Climate doesn’t simply stunt development and slow down the harvest. Analysis of peanuts grown in poor climate conditions showed evidence of pathogens and disease.
How Much Water Do Peanuts Need?
Peanut plants need 3.2 gallons of water to produce one pound of peanuts. They prefer a dryer climate without too much rain, and they require constant –yet not excessive– watering. Especially around harvest time, peanuts need a steady supply of water to ensure the legumes properly develop.
This means they must not dry out, but they can’t be flooded either. Overwatering, flooding, and drought may not kill the plants, but they can stunt their growth.
In places like South America and Southeast Asia, monsoon-level rains are received during certain seasons and could destroy an entire crop by uprooting them. The best way to prevent erosion is to place straw and small stones around the base of the plant.
This helps prevent the topsoil from eroding and the roots getting destroyed. It also helps keep the moisture around the roots and legumes, preventing them from ever drying out.
How To Grow Your Own Peanuts
Despite their particular growing conditions, almost anyone can grow their own peanuts. It requires some preparation and planning, but it’s pretty straightforward once they sprout. You can accommodate their needs by adding loose topsoil and mulch around the base of the plant.
Here’s the best way to grow your own peanuts:
- Start your seedlings inside your home using an old egg carton.
- Add topsoil and plant a singular peanut seed in each spot.
- Water them gently.
- Provide peanuts with plenty of sunlight in a window or artificial light.
- Once the first frost passes, plant each seedling approximately 8 inches apart.
- Place straw and pebbles around the base of each plant.
- water them sufficiently and ensure they never dry out and
- keep plants free of weeds.
- Harvest and enjoy!
Peanuts grow best between 65-86°F (18-30°C). Temperatures above 93°F (34°C) or below 52°F (11°C) can delay your harvest or even kill the plant. Nonetheless, peanuts are one of the most sustainable nut substitutions for anyone wanting to become more earth friendly.