Gardening Articles: Care :: Soil, Water, & Fertilizer
by National Gardening Association Editors
Plant peanut seeds after all danger of frost has passed -- at least two weeks after the last spring frost.
Peanuts are a heat-loving crop, so choose a spot where the plants will receive as much sun and warmth as possible while they're growing.
"Raised bed" is a term used when soil is raised so that the seedbed is higher than the soil in the adjacent walkways. Because peanuts thrive in warm soil and their pegs must have loose soil to enter the ground, raised beds are best for this legume. Preparing raised beds is worth the extra time and effort. Here's what you need to do.
- Decide on the width and length of your raised beds as well as the space in between. This will depend on whether you're planting single rows or wide rows.
- Using a spade or tiller, work your soil to a depth of six to eight inches.
- Measure your rows and walkways. Stake out the dimensions of your raised beds with sticks and strings. 1- to 2-feet wide is fine, and the length can be as long as you want. Allow at least 18 inches between the edge of one raised bed and the edge of the next. Rake-width raised beds work very well. Therefore, the center of one raised bed is almost 3 feet from the next if you leave an 18-inch walkway.
- Use a hoe to pull the loosely tilled soil from the walkways up onto the bed until it's four to eight inches higher than the walkway. By drawing 2 inches of soil from the walk on each side of the bed, you'll create a 4-inch raised bed.
- Rake the top of the bed smooth, leveling the surface as you go. Now you're ready to plant.
Fertilize, plant, and harvest on raised beds the same as you would on level ground. However, as long as you're going to make raised beds, it makes sense to grow in wide rows - or double rows at the least! Otherwise, you waste too much valuable growing space.
The simplest way to make a single row is to put stakes in the ground at each end of the row and stretch a string tightly between them. Draw a shallow furrow with a hoe beside the string in the well-spaded seedbed.
Plant shelled peanut seeds (with their skins still on) 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches deep (shallowest in clay soils). The general rule of planting the seed at a depth four times the diameter of the seed applies. Drop the seeds into well-worked single rows, two or three seeds per foot. Cover the seeds with soil and pack it down firmly with a hoe and water well. It's best to leave about 36 inches between the rows because the plants spread, becoming attractive bushes.