Archive for the 'Peanuts' Category

Nuts About Peanuts

Last month, I dug up the Virginia peanut plants I had been growing in our vegetable garden since last April. I grew 11 peanut plants by seed. Each plant had about 10 peanut shells growing on them underground. After removing the peanuts from the plants, I left the peanuts outdoors in a sunny spot on a table for about 10 days to dry. I also covered them with bird netting to discourage pests from trying to eat them. After 10 days of drying outside, I could hear the nuts rattling around in the shells.

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After drying the peanuts outside, I let them sit in bowl indoors at room temperature for about a month. Today, I roasted half of them in their shells in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes on a cookie sheet. Then, I shelled them with my hands and ate them. They’re a great home grown snack. My peanut are similar in quality and taste to peanuts sold commercially.

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Overall, I am very happy with the results of my first crop of peanuts. One of my favorite things about them is that they seem to be nearly pest free. No critters even attempted to dig up my peanuts while they were growing. Although I’d imagine that gophers could potentially be a problem for peanut growers. Also, they required very little maintenance, other than regular watering. I didn’t fertilize our peanuts; although they probably would’ve grow larger and gotten more peanuts if I had. Also, the plants I grew were very compact in size and didn’t crowd out any of the plants nearby. So they were perfect for growing in a small raised bed. The only negative of growing peanuts for me is that it was a lot of work digging them up and searching for them in the dirt during harvest.

November 25 2013 | Peanuts | No Comments »

Peanuts and Cucumbers

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My Virginia peanut plants appear to be growing well at least above ground. They are the plants in the middle of the above photo with the pea-like leaves.  It will be interesting to see if they produce any peanuts. The peanuts form underground and are harvested in late summer or early fall by pulling up the whole plant.  So I can’t tell yet if any peanuts are growing underground.

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In the same raised bed that I am growing peanuts, I am also growing straight eight cucumbers, which are above the peanuts in the top photo. The cucumbers are growing well and producing more cucumbers than we can eat. Cucumbers are possibly one of the easiest annual edibles to grow. I have grown them several years in row. I planted about 30 cumcuber seeds in May in this raised bed. I didn’t fertilize them or give them any special care other than regular watering. The vines grow rapidly along the ground and don’t require staking. They have about 15 large ripe cucumbers now, and I have already picked about 5.

August 25 2013 | Cucumbers and Peanuts | No Comments »

Vegetable Assortment

Last March around the first of spring, I planted blue lake pole bean seeds and light and dark green zucchini seeds directly into one of our raised beds. I stared harvesting green beans and zucchinis in late May, and they have been producing prolificly since then. This year is the earliest harvest I’ve ever had for beans and zucchini. In the past, my green beans and zucchini didn’t mature until mid-June, and I have always planted them at the same time around the first day of spring. This year’s warmer weather was likely the cause.

Below is a photo of one of my raised beds that has pole beans growing on a wire support in the back, tomatoes in the middle in square cages, zucchini up front, and strawberries growing around the edge. This is the same bed shown in my Apr. 20 post. The plants are close together, which helps to prevent weed growth.

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This is a close up photo of one group of my zucchinis:

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My corn plants are also precocious this year. I planted corn by seed on Apr. 8 directly into another raised bed. The corn seeds took 2 weeks to sprout, but it has been growing rapidly since then. They already are pushing out the tassels.

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I am experimenting with growing some new edible plants this year. Peanuts are one of the new plants I am growing this year. Peanuts are supposed to thrive in warm summers. I’m not sure it will be warm enough for them here, but I think that it will be fun to try at least once. I purchased peanut seeds through an online mail order website. I planted the peanut seeds in late April. The seedlings look like little pea plants. They are already generating small yellow sweet pea-like flowers. The photo below shows what they looked like earlier today.

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I am also growing spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and sugar pie pumpkins this year for the first time. I planted all of these by seed. I planted the spaghetti squash and pumpkin seeds in late March outdoors in small pots and then transplanted them into the ground after they had sprouted. I decided not to plant them in our raised beds, because their vines grow so long that they would grow out of the beds and along the paths around the beds, which would force me to constantly step over the vines.

Our natural soil here is clay. Our neighbors grew pumpkins successfully in their clay soil last year, which inspired me to try them this year. The spaghetti squash and pumpkin vines are already several feet long and growing rapidly. The photo below shows two spaghetti squash vines with two spaghetti squash on them.

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I am growing sugar pie pumpkins rather than jack-o-lantern pumpkins. I want to use pumpkins in cooking, and sugar pie pumpkins are bred for this purpose. Pumpkins are supposed to thrive in climates with relatively mild and dry summers, so they should grow reasonably well here. This is a photo of one of my pumpkin vines with a pumpkin on it:

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June 15 2013 | Beans and Corn and Peanuts and Pumpkin and Squash and Zucchini | 1 Comment »