Did you know that the average American eats 6 pounds (almost 3 kg.) of peanut products per year! There are actually four types of peanut: Valencia, Spanish, Runners, and Virginia. Of these, many peanut aficionados claim that Valencia peanuts are the best to eat raw or boiled. If you are only familiar with peanuts in the form of peanut butter or ballpark snack, you may be wondering what are Valencia peanuts? Read on to find out how to grow Valencia peanuts and other info on Valencia peanut varieties.
What are Valencia Peanuts?
Valencia peanuts have three to six small red-skinned seeds per shell, each with a sweet flavor. Valencia peanuts are found growing for commercial use in New Mexico and account for less than 1% of the United States production of peanuts. Their sweet flavors make them a favorite for boiled nuts and are also often used for all-natural peanut butter. When roasted, Valencias come close to achieving the crispness of Spanish peanuts.
Valencia Peanut Info
Referred to as ground nuts, monkey nuts and goober, peanuts are natives of South America and, as such, are generally regarded as a warm climate crop. That said, wild strains of peanut (Arachis hirsuta or hairy peanut) have been found in the chilly high altitudes of the Andes Mountains. Peanuts have been cultivated for at least 3,500 years.
Valencia peanuts produce smaller kernels and yield less than Virginia peanuts. Most Valencia peanut varieties mature in 90-110 days while Runner and Virginia types need 130-150 days to reach maturity. While Valencia peanuts are usually found growing in the warm region of New Mexico, they have been cultivated as far north as Ontario, Canada.
The most commonly planted Valencia peanut varieties are ‘Tennessee Red’ and ‘Georgia Red.’
How to Grow Valencia Peanuts
Peanuts prefer sandy, loose, well-draining soil. Do not sow peanuts after potatoes or beans have been grown in the plot, as they are susceptible to the same diseases. Prepare a bed by tilling or digging in a couple of inches (5 cm.) of compost or rotted manure down to a depth of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm.).
Peanuts fix their own nitrogen so do not need much in the way of fertilizer, but they do need plenty of calcium. To add calcium into the soil, amend it with gypsum.
Plant the peanut seeds after the soil has warmed, about three weeks after the last frost. Soak the seeds in water overnight to stimulate germination and then plant seeds less than 2 inches (5 cm.) deep, and 4-6 inches (10-15 cm.) apart.
The peanut seedlings will appear about a week after sowing and will then grow slowly for a month. Don’t worry; growth is occurring but just under the soil’s surface. When you see four leaves above the soil line, the plant no doubt has about a foot of taproot along with lateral roots.
Peanuts do like heat, but they need regular watering. Soak the plants deeply once or twice a week. Pay special attention to consistent watering 50-100 days from sowing when the pods are nearing the soil’s surface. As the plants near maturity, allow the soil to dry out.
While growing, Valencia peanuts don’t usually need any fertilizer if the soil has been amended prior to sowing. But if the plants look peaky, it’s fine to give them a diluted amount of fish emulsion just after the emergence of the seedlings, and then only that one time. Peanuts are susceptible to fertilizer burn, so be judicious with fertilizer application.
Peanut : Tennessee Red
An early variety with 2 to 5 rich, sweet, red-coated kernels per shell
One of the finest large varieties, each shell contains 2 to 5 red-skinned peanuts with a mild, sweet flavor. This pre-1930 heirloom variety is extremely productive. Rich, sweet, red-coated kernels are easy to grow in different types of soils. An early variety for those who have trouble maturing Virginia-type peanuts. Peanuts are sold in shell to preserve seed freshness.
Fabaceae Arachis hypogaea
- Growing Options
- Related Plants
- Soil Prep
- Needs List
- Start Indoors
- Transplant Outdoors
- Start Outdoors
- Crop Care
- Care Notes
- Seed Saving
- Ratings / Review
First Time Growing Your Own Peanuts?
Peanuts are a fun legume to eat, but they can be really hard to grow, right?
For most people, the colder season is the time of year to relax from outdoor chores, but for gardeners, it's time to start planning out next year's garden. You may be considering planting different crops next season that you haven't tried before, and one fun choice is growing peanuts next year. You may have passed up these healthy legumes in the past thinking that they are too much trouble, but this fun snack can be relatively easy to grow.
Pick Your Peanut
There are several peanut varieties that you can choose to grow, but the main types are runner, Spanish, Virginia, and Valencia. The runner type of peanuts is typically grown in the Southern states of the United States where they can be harvested 130 to 150 days from the time they were planted. Spanish peanuts can be a good variety for areas with a shorter growing season, as it takes about 120 days for them to be ready for harvesting. Virginia peanuts are the largest peanuts with a 130 to 150-day harvest schedule, so they are also typically grown in southern states. Valencia is another type of peanut that works well in areas with shorter growing seasons, as they take about 95 to 100 days from planting to harvest.
Pick the Perfect Planting Spot
There are a few requirements that peanuts need in order to grow well in your garden.
First, peanuts need to be planted in full sunlight. Be sure not to plant any taller plants, like corn, in the general area, which could cause them to grow in their shadows
It is also important to get the soil right. The soil should be a mixture of sandy and loamy. It should have a good amount of organic matter, while also loose and well-drained. The peanuts will grow underground, so compacted soil will prevent it from growing well. You need to aim for soil that has a pH level of about 5.8 to 6.2. Also, you will want to mix sand and aged compost into the soil to get it at the perfect growing condition for peanuts.
Planting Your Peanuts
You'll need to prep the soil for planting and get ready to sow the peanuts about a month after the last frost date in your area. The soil should be about 65 degrees. If you're looking to get a head start on the lengthy growing time to be sure you'll be able to harvest your crop in September, you can start your peanuts indoors. You can start them indoors about five to eight weeks before transplanting them when the soil is at the necessary temperature.
When planting your peanuts outdoors, you can sow them complete in the shell, or you can just plant them with the papery skin around them intact. They should be planted at least 1.5 inches deep, but no deeper than 3 inches. When planting transplants that you started indoors, you'll want to plant them in little biodegradable pots that you can plant entirely in the ground when the soil has warmed to stop from damaging the roots.
You'll want to put them about 6 - 8 inches apart when planting seeds, but you will need to thin the seedlings to make them about 18 inches apart later on so that they have enough growing space. One space-saving option is to plant them in double rows where you can stagger the seeds at this spacing. After the plants have gotten to be about a foot tall, you'll want to create a mound of soil around the base of it. The faded flowers will then set pegs into this mound.
You can plant your peanuts in containers for container gardening, but you need to be sure that you find pots that are at least 18 inches wide and at least 1 foot deep to allow for the plant to grow well.
Caring for Your Peanuts
Your peanuts will require even watering on a regular basis. The soil should remain moist until flowers begin to set, and then, you can water the peanut plants less. In fact, you should allow drying to occur to the soil. If you find at harvest time that your pods are empty of peanuts, there's a chance there was too much rain or watering that year. You should mulch around the plants as it will help to keep the soil from hardening. Remove weeds as they pop up to keep them from overtaking your peanuts. You may find that squirrels and other digging pests may try to dig up your plants, so it can be beneficial to keep them from getting to your plants.
Harvesting Your Peanuts
Your peanut plants will let you know when it's time to harvest them, as the leaves will start to wither and turn from green to yellow. You can harvest them by pulling up the whole plant being careful when lifting them. A garden fork may be the best tool for this job. You'll want to get rid of the loose soil remaining on the plant by shaking it. You’ll need to find a place to store the peanut plants that is warm and dry where you’ll allow the plant to dry out.
The seeds are ready for you when the hulls of the seed pods are completely dry to the touch. If you keep the dried peanuts in their shells, you can keep them about a year, whereas shelled peanuts that are raw can be good for about three months.
Now, you have the information you need to move forward with growing your very own peanut plants. Good luck with your peanut growing endeavors. You'll find that the peanuts you grow in your backyard garden will taste even better than those you've gotten in the store.
About Shannon McKee
About Shannon McKee
Shannon McKee is an urban gardener that has been gardening seriously for over ten years now. Much to her husband’s chagrin, every year it seems like her once little patch of the backyard gets bigger and bigger. She’s always looking for ways to get the most out of her garden without spending a fortune. She focuses mostly on vegetables, but a few flowers and fruits pop up in her yard here or there. There’s nothing better in her mind than heading out to the garden and making a healthy snack to enjoy during the day. As a stay at home mom who works from home, she de-stresses by getting her hands dirty.