Common Disease Problems
Botrytis: This fungus causes a grey mold on flowers, leaves, stems and buds. It thrives in cool wet weather conditions. Burpee Recommends: Remove affected plant parts, avoid watering at night and getting water on the plant when watering. Make sure plants have good air circulation. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Cylindrocladium Black Rot: A fungus that causes yellowing and wilting of the leaves, and rapid wilting of the whole plant when there is a period of drought after high moisture. Clusters of red-brown fungal bodies occur on stems, pegs and pods; the roots blacken, shrivel and rot. Burpee Recommends: Plant resistant varieties and rotate crops. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Cercospora Leaf Blight: Small flecks which develop a yellowish halo appear on the leaves and turn brown and coalesce. They cause the leaves to wither and die. Burpee Recommends: Remove infected plants and destroy all plant debris. Rotate crops.
Rust: A number of fungus diseases that cause rust colored spots on foliage and stalks. Burpee Recommends: Plant early as these diseases tend to be worse later in the season. Plant resistant varieties. Practice crop rotation. Remove infected plants.
Verticillium Wilt: This causes a wilting of the leaves and stems on several branches. Leaf margins cup upward, leaves turn yellow and drop off. Like fusarium this will enter through the roots, migrating up the stem and plugging a plant's transport vessels. It is transmitted in the soil. It can also be spread by water and tools. Burpee Recommends: Practice at least a 4 year crop rotation. Remove and destroy crop debris.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Armyworm: Holes in leaves can be singular or clumped together. Leaves can become skeletonized. Egg clusters may be evident on foliage with a cottony or fuzzy appearance. Young larvae are pale green and adults are darker with a light line along the side and pink underside. Burpee Recommends: Introduce natural enemies to the area.
Cutworms: These insects cut off the seedlings at the soil level. Burpee Recommends: Place a paper cup collar (use a coffee cup with the bottom cut out) around the base of the plant. They are usually mostly a problem with young seedlings. You can also control by handpicking and controlling weeds, where they lay their eggs.
Spider Mites: These tiny spider-like pests are about the size of a grain of pepper. They may be red, black, brown or yellow. They suck on the plant juices removing chlorophyll and injecting toxins which cause white dots on the foliage. There is often webbing visible on the plant. They cause the foliage to turn yellow and become dry and stippled. They multiply quickly and thrive in dry conditions. Burpee Recommends: Spider mites may be controlled with a forceful spray every other day. Try hot pepper wax or insecticidal soap. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for miticide recommendations.
Thrips: Thrips are tiny needle-thin insects that are black or straw colored. They suck the juices of plants and attack flower petals, leaves and stems. The plant will have a stippling, discolored flecking or silvering of the leaf surface. Thrips can spread many diseases from plant to plant. Burpee Recommends: Many thrips may be repelled by sheets of aluminum foil spread between rows of plants. Remove weeds from the bed and remove debris from the bed after frost. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- Harvest up to 50-60 pods per plant, with 1-2 nuts per pod.
- Peanuts are ready to harvest in around 110-125 days in late summer or early fall when the foliage wilts to yellow.
- Dig up the entire plant and hang, with peanuts attached, in a dry airy location, or on poles outside to cure.
- Allow to cure for 2-4 weeks.
- When well-dried, shake off the soil from the pods and shell before eating.
- Peanuts may be frozen after blanching. Raw peanuts in the shell or out of the shell may be packaged in freezer containers and frozen.
- Roast peanuts before eating as fresh nuts are not as flavorful.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
How to Sow
- Peanuts need a long, hot growing season to fully mature. They will not fully mature in areas that do not have at least 4-5 months of frost-free weather.
- Sow seeds directly outdoors after the last frost.
- Plant in full sun in loose, well-drained soil. Peanuts prefer a slightly alkaline soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Shell the seeds before sowing. Be careful to not damage the skin on the seeds.
- Create a furrow 2 inches deep and sow seeds 4-6 inches apart, being careful not to damage the tender seeds.
- Space rows 3 feet apart.
- Seeds germinate in 10-15 days.
- When plants are 2 inches tall, thin stand to 8-12 inches apart. Vines spread to 3 ½ feet.