Grow your own peanut plant
Alright, well I don’t know about you but I try to stay frugal with my gardening while keeping things interesting for myself. So when I borrowed a book from the library over the summer and found instructions for growing a peanut plant from regular peanuts bought at the grocery store, you can imagine how happy I was. Actually, I thought the idea was hilarious (and still do) I mean who actually grows PEANUTS?!!
The answer is: ME!! I do!! Ha ha! I bought a big bag of fresh peanuts from the grocery store a few months ago and planted one peanut each in three separate containers just in case they didn’t all germinate. Three weeks later, the first one pushed its way through the soil.
My first thought was, “holy crap, it actually grew!!” My second thought was, “this looks like one of those monsters from Tremors.” Then I ran off to find Nick and show him my peanut seedling to prove to him that it actually worked, since I don’t think he really believed me when I first told him about my project.
It has been growing quickly since it sprouted. As you probably know, the peanut is not really a nut, it’s actually a legume. If you want to sound smart at parties, you can explain this fact to every person you meet like one of George’s girlfriends did in that episode of Seinfeld (anybody else see that one?).
It’s going to grow differently from your usual plants, assuming that you usually grow vegetables or fruits. The peanut plant first sprouts from the soil, growing leaves and so forth like a normal plant. Then it does something odd. It grows a special stem that drops down to bury itself in the dirt, where the peanuts will grow underground until ready for harvest. I like to think of it a fruit plant crossed with a potato plant.
My own peanut plant is not ready to harvest yet, but you can see in the photo above that it’s getting big (over 12 inches tall!). It needs to be transplanted into a larger pot, where it will hopefully start growing some peanuts for me to snack on.
By now you’re probably thinking, “Devon, I don’t care about your peanut plant. Just tell me how to grow my own.” Well okay, I can do that. It’s actually easy and cheap to do. All you really need is time and patience, plus these other things.
- RAW, fresh peanuts. The roasted kind will not work
- Container or flower-pot with good drainage
- Soil (sandy is best)
- Sunny windowsill or other spot
- Water (of course)
Fill your containers with soil. It is best to use soil that is sandy; it will make life easier for your peanut plant. Soil that is too dense will make it difficult for the plant to bury itself back into the ground when the time comes.
Remove the peanut from the shell and bury it a couple of inches deep in the container. I’ve read elsewhere that you can leave it in the shell, so you can try that if you want but I prefer not to. You may want to plant a few peanuts at a time in case some of them don’t germinate.
Set the containers in a warm, sunny spot and water regularly. Depending on the viability of the peanuts and on your climate, they could start sprouting anywhere between 8 days to 5 weeks. The instructions I followed suggested covering the container with plastic to seal in moisture, but I found that just encouraged the growth of mould.
There’s not much else to do at this point but continue watering. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, you might try planting them out there. Once the special stem grows into the soil, wait up to three months for the new peanuts to form. Dig them up the same way you might dig up potatoes and eat them! Or, plant them again to grow more!
I spoke to my father the other day about this project and I found out that he used to grow peanuts before he met me. In his experience, the amount of peanuts harvested weren’t worth the amount of effort put into them, so that’s something to keep in mind. However, this is a great project to work on if you’re looking for something fun and different to grow. I bet kids would love to try it too.
That’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by!
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