Sweet or salted peanuts are a favorite of many. It is added to confectionery products, butter is made from it, and it is sold peeled and in shell. However, not everyone knows how and where peanuts grow, and also why they cannot be considered a nut.
Peanuts are a plant from the legume family. It is a herbaceous annual plant with small yellowish flowers.
No one has ever seen peanuts in the wild, but on the island of Madagascar there is a plant similar to it, which the locals call ground peas. This close relative of the peanut has a herbaceous stem, oval leaves and blooms very profusely. Its beans are edible, but they are somewhat larger than those of peanuts. They are formed underground, for which the peduncles, bending low, grow into it. In some West African regions, such ground peas are not only known but also successfully cultivated.
Peanuts are thermophilic, therefore, it is possible to grow it in the field only in the climatic conditions of the southern regions of our country. Enthusiasts living in the middle lane will have to use greenhouses.
The process of growing peanuts begins with the preparation of their seeds. Depending on the temperature, in late April (early May) unroasted beans should be spread on a wet cloth and germinated, maintaining a moist environment for about 10 days. Seeds in which sprouts have hatched should be placed in small pots with soil, which will allow, 14 days after germination, to get seedlings ready for planting in carefully loosened beds.
Those who want to plant peanuts in a greenhouse should take into account that he and tomatoes feel good close to each other. The reason is simple: tomato bushes with removed lower leaves do not interfere with the development of undersized peanuts, and that, in turn, releases nitrogen, which its neighbors in the garden really need.
Towards the end of June, when the stems have stretched up to 15-20 cm, flowers begin to appear one after the other in peanuts, and this continues for at least one and a half months. Each of the flowers opens only for a day, and 200 flowers can appear sequentially on one bush.
In fertilized flowers, an ovary is formed, which tends to come into contact with the soil in order to gradually penetrate into it and create all the conditions for the successful development of the beans. If the bed is poorly maintained, and the ovary has not been able to penetrate to a sufficient depth, it remains sterile and dies off.
It is necessary to process the beds according to the following schedule: end of July - hilling to a height of 30 mm using a loose mixture of compost and soil from the garden; August - hilling to a height of 15 to 20 mm.
With proper care for peanuts, the first half of September will be marked by a pleasant event - harvesting. As soon as the leaves of the plant turn yellow, the bushes should be completely removed from the beds, shaken off the lumps of earth and laid out in a sunny place to dry.