After writing about legumes and how to grow them it would be remiss of me to have a legumes section with only one legume.
So as with all things on this blog I am taking the cheap way out. I have bought ‘monkey nuts’ and will test ways to achieve best germination.
Peanut plants grow seeds pods in a very strange way compared to all other legumes (and most plants really). They germinate and grow like a normal legume with pea type flowers, however after the flower is pollinated (peanuts flowers are self pollinating in a closed flower like peas flowers) it lives for one day and then starts to wilt and grow a peg (looks like stem) towards the soil; this is called a gynophore.
The peg enters the ground and then grows horizontally and the end turns into a shell with peanut’s seeds inside. The peg then rots and the pod is already in the ground to grow another plant.
I got a bag of peanuts that are raw and in shell; some people have stated that although the bag says raw, they are often treated or somehow not viable for sowing but in a couple of weeks I will find out if that is true.
Peanuts need heat and a longish growing period – Spanish peanuts have a shorter growing season than runners or Virginia. I thought mine would be Spanish kind, Valencia (they look like it -small and red) however, the pack says they were grown in China so who knows.
To germinate a peanut, it must have its paper membrane intact – suggestions on the internet say they must be shelled but no one is shelling them in the wild (probably rots eventually) so I tested both shell on and off.
Choose peanuts that have no blemishes or cracks in the shell as that could mean the seed is not viable or has been damaged some how.
Also choose ones that have a shape and size that you like as they will most likely produce peanuts similar to the ones you sow.
Then go about shelling them – I shelled a few making sure not to damage the seed inside. Three of the nuts I left in their shells – one I cracked lightly; one I cut some holes in with a knife and the third I left untouched. It is quite hard to shell without touching the seed or membrane so one set of seeds was slightly damaged so this will show whether is imperative to be intacted.
I put them in a container and covered with about a centimetre or so of soil; I put them on the heat mat and under lights as peanuts have better germination when it is hotter.
I will update if and when I get any germination; hopefully that will be in less than 10 days. I also will do a sweet (edible) lupin guide but I wont have the seeds until late March.
On another note, does anyone know what to do with half a kilo of unshelled raw peanuts (minus seven nuts) please comment with suggestions.
Here is the update as the saga continues Update! Experiments in Peanut