Growing Peanuts:
How to Grow Peanuts Organically

If you love them as much as we do, growing peanuts in warmer climates is a straightforward process that should be added to your garden plan. Unfortunately, those in cooler climates may have a tougher time.

To grow best, peanuts need full sun, and sandy, loamy and well-drained soil that has been enriched with organic matter.

Growing Peanuts: Plant Snapshot (Arachis hypogaea)

Growing Peanuts
  • Family: Fabaceae (Pea family)
  • Annual or Perennial? Both annual and perennial varieties available. Annual peanuts are ready to harvest about 120 to 140 days after planting.
  • Recommended varieties: Jumbo Virginia, Tennessee Red Valencia, Early Spanish
  • Cold tolerance: Warm Season – Will not survive frost and their seeds will not germinate in cold soil. Plant them at about the average date of the last 32 degree F (0 degree C) temperature in spring
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: n/a (perennial)
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Beets, Cabbage family, Carrots, Celeriac, Celery, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Marigold, Pea, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Strawberry, Savory, Tansy, Marigold
    • Avoid: Basil, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Onion
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Growing Peanuts: Planting the Seed

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Peanuts must be planted after all danger of frost has passed and must grow and develop under the ground in a sandy, loamy and well-drained soil for around 140 days. Make sure your weather will cooperate and that you have the required soil type before planting peanut seed.

They also prefer soil rich in calcium which can be added to your garden by applying gypsum.

To plant peanuts, sow the seeds three to five inches (8 to 13 cm) deep and seven inches (18 cm) apart. Water the planting area well.

Snapshot: Planting Peanuts

  • Planting depth: about 3 to 5 inches (7.62 to 12.7 cm)
  • Spacing in rows: about 7 inches (17.78 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 60 to 70 degrees F (15.5 to 21.1 degrees C)
  • Days to germination: 10 to 14 days
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Growing Peanuts: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

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Do not water your peanut garden again until the seeds begin to sprout. After a while, you will see flowers begin to develop along with the peanut pods. Soon thereafter, the flowers’ pedals will fall off and the stem and peanut pods will bend over and bury themselves in the soil.

Keep the soil moist throughout the peanut plant’s growing cycle, but do not give peanuts too much water. Keep garden weeds at bay to prevent them from affecting the growth of the plants.

Snapshot: Growing Peanuts

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 5.5 to 7.0
  • Growing soil temperature: 65 to 85 degrees F (18.3 to 29 degrees C)
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Growing Peanuts: Harvesting Time

You will know it’s time to harvest peanuts when the foliage of the plant begins to turn yellow. When it does, you can dig up several peanuts to find out if they are ripe (they should have dry skin and feel firm to the touch).

If the peanuts are not ready but look like they’re getting close, continue to check the plant and test the nuts every few days. It takes up to 140 days from the time the plant sprouts until peanuts are ready to harvest, but start checking about 120 days in.

When they’re ready, remove the peanut plants from the ground, brush off the excess soil and cure in the sun for a few days. Once they’ve dried up a bid, remove the peanuts and continue to cure them in the sun (don’t leave them out in the rain) for a few weeks until fully dry.

Snapshot: Harvesting Peanuts

  • Time to harvest: About 120 to 140 days after planting
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Storing Peanuts and Freezing Peanuts

Peanuts may be stored in a place that is dry and cool for up to two months. Many people keep freshly harvested peanuts in their refrigerator, but experience has taught us that the humidity in that environment can play havoc with the condition of the peanut.

Peanuts can be successfully frozen raw or boiled. Simply place cleaned peanuts in a plastic bag and they can stay frozen for up to three years.

Snapshot: Storing Peanuts & Freezing Peanuts

  • Storage temperature: 50 to 60 degrees F (10 to 15.5 degrees C)
  • Humidity: 60 to 65% relative humidity
  • Storage life (unfrozen in above conditions): 2 months
  • Storage life (frozen): 3 years
  • Seed longevity: About 3 years
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Growing Peanuts: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Peanuts. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.

Pests

  • Beet armyworm
  • Black cutworm
  • Celvetthea caterpillar
  • Corn armyworm
  • Cowpea aphid
  • Fall armyworm
  • Grannulate cutworm
  • Green cloverworm
  • Lesser cornstalk borer
  • Potato leafhopper
  • Southern corn rootworm
  • Spotted Cucumber beetle
  • Tobacco thripsTwospotted spider mite
  • Wireworm

Diseases

  • Alternaria leaf blight
  • Alternaria leaf spot
  • Alternaria spot and veinal necrosis
  • Anthracnose
  • Aspergillis crown rot
  • Bacterial wilt
  • Blackhull
  • Botrytis blight
  • Charcoal rot
  • Choanephora leaf spot
  • Collar rot
  • Colletotrichum leaf spot
  • Cylindrocladium black rot
  • Cylindrocladium leaf spot
  • Damping off
  • Damping-off, Aspergillus
  • Fusarium peg and root rot
  • Fusarium wilt
  • Leaf spot, early
  • Macrophomina leaf spot
  • Melanosis
  • Pod rot
  • Powdery mildew
  • Pythium wilt
  • Rhizoctonia foliar blight
  • Rust
  • Scab
  • Stem rot
  • Verticillum wilt
  • Yellow mold
  • Zonate leaf spot
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Peanuts

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