I have never thought of growing peanuts until my friend Denise from NJ recently posted the peanuts she grew!
What a great sustainable food to grow full of protein! Peanut butter fresh from the garden? This thought has me hooked!
This is what I’ve learned.
Peanuts are a great addition to a home garden since they require minimal care and provide bountiful yields. If you’re looking to try something new in your garden this year, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at the potential of peanuts.
Home-grown peanuts offer lots of possibilities in the kitchen. Talk about peanut gallery! They can be roasted in their shells, ground into peanut butter or boiled for a traditional down-home Southern snack.
When you are selecting peanut seeds for planting, it’s helpful to keep in mind that there are four main types of peanuts. Virginia peanuts have the largest seeds, and are usually roasted in the shell and have a more gourmet quality. Runner peanuts typically have a uniform size and are the preferred choice for grinding into peanut butter. Spanish peanuts have the smallest seeds, and are used for mixed nut snacks. They also have the highest oil content. Valencia peanuts are known for being the sweetest and for having attractive, bright red skin.
If you purchase a peanut seed package from us, you’ll notice that we ship peanuts still in their shells to ensure seed protection and preservation. Before you plant your peanuts, they will need to be shelled. Be careful not to damage the seeds while cracking them open.
In the garden…
Peanuts generally need a long growing season and relatively sandy soil, although Tennessee Red Valencia peanut can grow in clay soil. However, if you add enough organic matter by hilling or planting in raised beds, most peanut plants will be able to grow in clay soil.
Selecting peanut seeds for planting is easy once you figure out what works best with your garden conditions. Growing peanuts requires 130-140 frost-free days from the time they are sown until harvest time. If your growing season falls just short of this time window, it’s possible to start growing your peanuts indoors or in a greenhouse until the danger of frost passes and then transplant them outside.
Plant peanuts one to two inches deep and about six inches apart. Next, add a thick layer of compost and a layer of mulch.
Be aware–peanuts need shallow weeding. You could damage them by digging too deeply into the ground where they are are developing. When the plant begins to flower, pegs will drop into the ground under the flower and produce peanuts. Hand-weeding is the only option after the peanut pegs.
Also, after your plants start flowering, it’s important not to let them dry out or they won’t produce as many of the mouth-watering legumes you’ve been waiting for.
Once frost is in the forecast or the plant stems begin to turn yellow, it’s time to harvest. Try not to harvest while the soil is wet, and don’t wait too long to harvest your peanuts–they’ll start sprouting in the ground if left unattended! Dig around the perimeter of where the plant’s leaves have sprawled. Lift the plant out of the ground and flip it, so that the leaves are on the ground. If rain is in the forecast, bring your plants into a shed or garage.
Growing zone is 3-8 but perhaps some experienced gardeners in Florida can try to grow!
VARIETIES OF WITCH HAZEL
In addition to the common witch hazel, also called American witch hazel, that this article focuses on (Hamamelis virginiana), the witch hazel plant takes other forms that gardeners may choose to plant instead.
Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis): When bred with Japanese witch hazel, Chinese witch hazel is responsible for the many hybrid varieties (Hamamelis x intermedia) that make up the kaleidoscopic spectrum of foliage and flower colors available as well as the range of heights on the market.
Japanese witch hazel (Hamamelis japonica): Crossed with Chinese witch hazel, Japanese witch hazel creates the witch hazel hybrids (Hamamelis x intermedia) that offer so many different heights and visual options to gardeners.
Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis): This variety of witch hazel blooms in February, as opposed to the autumn-blooming common witch hazel. It is native to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas and Missouri. Although the blossoms of Ozark witch hazel are smaller than its relatives, they are known for their intense fragrance. Notable cultivars include “Autumn Embers” for its coppery red blooms and “Purple Ribbons” with its thin strips of purple petals.
GROWING CONDITIONS FOR COMMON WITCH HAZEL
Like most native plants, common witch hazel isn’t especially picky when it comes to where it should be planted. You can situated a witch hazel tree in most types of soil, from slightly acidic to neutral, as long as the ground offers enough drainage to prevent the roots from staying too wet. For best results, plant witch hazel where soil is rich and deep. witch hazel trees grow best in full sun or full shade, although they will grow well in sun at three-quarters strength as well. At least a touch of shade to protect trees from the heat of the afternoon is appreciated.