PPDL Picture of the Week
September 26, 2015
Get Your Peanuts!
Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist, Purdue University
Peanuts have long been a popular backyard garden crop in the southern United
States, much to the envy of northern gardeners. But since some garden seed
catalogs make peanuts available all over the county, peanuts are making their
way north. Growing them in raised beds with very well-drained media makes
for ideal growing conditions and allows for earlier planting.
Peanuts do require a long, warm growing season of about 110- 120 days.
Bright yellow flowers begin to form about seven weeks after planting.
After the flowers fade, a small peg is formed that grows downward until it
enters the soil. The nuts then begin to form underground.
As the peanuts mature, the foliage will begin to turn yellow. Peanut plants
flower throughout the season, so nuts at many different stages of development
will be found on the plant at any given time. Because of this, there is
unfortunately no one good time to harvest all of the plants. If plants are
harvested late in the season, many of the early-formed pods may rot or sprout
underground. But if plants are harvested early on, much of the production
potential will be lost. It is best to aim for the middle and harvest as the
plants begin to show signs of maturation.
Peanuts are harvested by carefully lifting the entire plant out of the
ground; the nuts should still be attached to the plant. The nuts need to be
cured or dried before processing. Allow the nuts to air dry outdoors for
several days while still in the shell. Nuts can be left attached to the plants
for ease of handling. Then stack the plants and store in a warm, dry,
well-ventilated area for two to three weeks. When fully dried, the peanuts can
be stripped from the plants.
Nuts will keep longer in storage if left in the shell, unroasted and placed
in a cool, dry area. Shelled nuts should be kept in the refrigerator to prolong
their usefulness. The skins can be removed by boiling in water, a process
called blanching, or by roasting in the oven.
info about peanuts at