How exactly do peanuts grow? Do they grow on a tree? Absolutely not. Do they bloom from a flower? No they do not.
Many people are surprised to learn that peanuts do not grow on trees like pecans or walnuts. Peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts, although we refer to them as nuts.
Unlike most plants, the peanut plant flowers above the ground, but fruits below ground. Seeds are planted after the last frost around April or May when the soil reaches the perfect temperature. The peanut seeds are planted two inches deep, about one to two inches apart in rows.
Watering is a must. Peanut plants need one and a half to two inches of water per week during the development of the kernel. The peanut plant is nitrogen-fixing; its roots form nodules, which absorb nitrogen from the air and provide enrichment and nutrition to the plant as well as the soil.
Then, the peanut seedlings will rise out of the soil approximately 10 days after planting and will grow into a green oval-leafed plant.
Yellow flowers will then begin to appear on the plant approximately 40 days after planting. When the flowers pollinate themselves, the petals fall off and the peanut ovary will begin to form.
As the budding ovary begins to grow, it will grow down into the soil away from the plant forming a stem. The peanut embryo will then penetrate the soil, turn horizontal to the soil surface and begin to mature taking the form of a peanut. The plant will then continue to grow a flower, eventually producing more than 40 pods. Usually the cycle of a peanut will take anywhere from four to five months depending on the type of peanut that was planted.
Peanuts are harvested between 120 to 160 days after planting using a machine called a digger. The farmer will drive the digger up and down the rows using the blades to loosen the root and carefully shake the plant. The digger then gently lays the peanut plant back on the ground for the plant to dry.
Lastly, a machine called a combine will separate the peanuts from the vines, putting the peanuts into a hopper and the vines back into the field. The peanuts are placed into wagons for curing and warm air circulating so that the moisture will be reduced to 10 percent for storage.