Peanuts in 2023
It was roughly two years ago when I first attempted to grow peanuts. Not knowing anything about them, it was a bit of a try and see what happens idea. To be fair, I didn’t think they would grow. I couldn’t see how a peanut could germinate and do something.
But the only way to find out was to have a go. Peanuts were on my mind on the way back from a trip up north. We were travelling through Childers, when I spotted the Peanut Van and had to stop and see if they had any peanuts you could grow.
Of course the kids wanted the chocolate covered ones, and really, so did I. The lady at the counter was lovely and didn’t mind talking about peanuts to a novice and we ended up buying lots of chocolate ones and also some peanuts for growing. I was still very sceptical that they would work but nothing ventured as they say.
Unlike most plants, the peanut plant flowers above the ground, but fruits below ground. From planting to harvesting, the growing cycle of a peanut takes 4 to 5 months, depending on the type and variety.
A couple of days after getting home, the peanuts were still sitting on the kitchen counter. Time to get my skates on and make something happen.
I had read that you planted them at least 60cm apart. Because I was still sceptical, I planted three in each location.
Apparently, they grow up and bend over and head back down to the ground and push their way into the dirt to grow more peanuts than the ones they grow at their root system.
I can confirm that its what they do.
The bag of peanuts for growing is still over three quarters full after planting. Even after adding three to each hole.
They have been sitting in my seeds cupboard reminding me everytime I go there that I should plant more. Thing is you don’t have to, once you have planted peanuts, you have them for life. They just keep on regrowing.
Bare Ground Needs Cover
In my journey learning the secrets of gardening, one of the things that has stuck, is that you should always have something growing in the garden as ground cover.
Or, you should cover the ground with mulch. To stop evaporation and water loss, reduce ground temperature in Summer and have the mulch break down and feed the microbes.
All good advice, I thought, but I was running out of grass clippings for mulch. It was all being used in the compost pile.
Peanuts as Ground Cover
What a great idea. I had read about the cane farmers using peanuts as a recovery crop in between replanting of sugar cane. They used it to replenish the soil every four to six years, as cane yields dropped over time on continuous use. Peanuts were the choice for rejuvenation of the soil.
Not only that, they had a market for their peanuts as well. Not a bad recipe for success. Improve the ground and make a dollar, instead of just giving money to the fertilizer manufacturers. But that’s a whole other story.
Seeds for Ground Cover
Although I had made a fair effort getting ground covered on the garden, I hadn’t done much with the raised beds. I decided to get all of my old seeds, didn’t matter which ones and plant them in one of the raised beds that had just been denuded of all plants.
I added some of the old Peanut Van peanuts to the bed as well. In a few weeks some of them had sprouted. Its always exciting when something pops up from the soil.
Peanuts Regrow By Themselves
The peanuts in the image above grew back from the first planting I made in 2022. It is now end of September 23.
After I pulled up all of the original planting there were quite a few peanuts in their shell still in the garden.
The image at the top titled Peanut with Helmet was of one that was laying in the soil from the first planting.
I learned a lot from this venture into growing peanuts and am really glad that I now know more about it and how easy it is to grow peanuts.
One thing I did learn, and it was from an error, is that they love water. I happened to leave the irrigation on overnight. The next day the garden beds were flooded and I thought that was the end of the peanuts. To my surprise they loved it and peanuts started popping up all over the bed where I had pulled them from at harvest.
I also noticed the same thing in the raised bed where I am growing them for ground cover.
But all this wouldn’t be worth it without letting you know how good boiled peanuts are.
PS if you like camping you might like to check out some of the Barebones Gear we have in stock. You might even boil some peanuts in the Cast Iron Crock.
Boiled Peanuts Recipe
There are literally hundreds of recipes on youtube for boiled peanuts mainly from the States and Hawai.
A Taiwanese friend showed me how they do it. And it is very simple.
Don’t Bother Shelling the peanuts but wash them first.
Place them in a large pot.
Add a tablespoon of salt and star anise.
Boil for at least 30 minutes. The longer you boil the softer the peanut. Then leave on the stove to cool.
That’s it, except for the good part which is to start eating.
It is easy to get them out of the shell. Squeeze one end of the shell. This will cause it to split and make the peanut pop out and available to eat.
If it doesn’t open up on the squeeze, try squeezing the other end. You will soon learn which is the end to squeeze. If not, you will miss out because everyone else will be eating them while you’re still playing with it.
Similar Recipe from Hawaii
I typically add star anise seed (adds a somewhat licorice favor) and rock salt to my water. In Hawaii, this mixture is the most popular. Split the shell just a bit at the pointy end of the peanuts to allow the water to enter inside the shell while its cooking. Bring the pot to a boil, leave covered for 70-80 (my preference) minutes then its ready. The flavor is incredible. The water gets inside the shell and cooks the peanut faster and minimizes the use of salt. Come to Hawaii and try some…hmmm, hmmm good!
My Taiwanese friend didn’t bother with splitting the shells. She said that water got into the shells quite easily when you boiled them.
rather than buying them. Not only will you save money, but you will help improve your garden soil, have a ground cover when its hot, and also enjoy them as a healthy snack. It’s a win, win, and one more win.