peanut2 How do Peanuts GrowPeanuts are a fascinating crop to grow. When they first start growing, their leaves are a pleasure to look at, nicely­ shaped and a rich, green. Then the little buttery yellow and orange flowers appear. When fertil­ized - usually by bees - they form “pegs” that dip down and dig into the ground. The buried tips of these pegs then swell out to form the characteristic peanut shell; filled with delicious and nutritional le­gume seeds.

They grow best in fertile, sandy soil and should be planted about the same time as corn they may also be used as we prefer to do for a second crop after early vegetables have been harvested. Peanuts grow best during hot weather, so they must not be planted until all danger of frost is past arid the soil thoroughly warmed up. They do fine, even up into the north, if given four or five warm months in which to grow. Planting too early may result in seed decay and poor germination. Do not plant any deeper than nec­essary to place the seed in moist soil, two to four inches being considered adequate, depending on soil mois­ture at planting time, or location of rows.

Husking the seeds before plant­ing hastens their emergence, but husk gently - if you tear the red skin of the seed, it won’t grow. An average of one plant every five to ten inches in the row is considered a good stand and row should be 28 to 30 inches apart from each other. The size of peanut seed selected for planting is important, large seeds will produce more vigorous seedlings, and make more rapid early growth as well as produce higher yields.The peanut plant is an annual that grows low over the soil. Its central stem is upright but many branches grow from it. There are two general kinds of peanut plant. One grows in a bunch,    and the other called  a runner is spreading or vine like.

The plant blossoms continuously for about two or three months, the flowers opening wide at sunrise. Dur­ing the morning fertilization takes place, and they usually wither and die by noon.

They are ready for harvest when the leaves begin to turn yellow, the kernels are fully developed, and the veins inside the pods begin to darken in color. At this same time the skins of the peanuts are light pink and papery-thin. In order to decide when to dig, examine a plant or two from different parts of your rows. Don’t be too anxious to dig! Harvest when at least 80 percent of your peanuts are mature.

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