We thought that this week you might like to have a look at one of the new varieties we will be offering for 2011 – it’s not available yet, but we are really looking forward to this one!
These are difficult to find but Gerard has managed to track some down. We think you will really like growing these!
Black peanuts are an heirloom variety of peanuts that are covered with a black/purple skin. They have a wonderful intense, rich and nutty flavour.
Peanuts originate from South America, and have been in cultivation there for at least two thousand years. The black peanut is known throughout Latin America as cacahuete negro. Peanuts have also played a large part in the culinary history of the American South, where they are known as pindars. The black peanut in particular may have been used by African slaves as a substitute for black bambarra, which is important in African folk medicine as an aphrodisiac.
Is a peanut a nut??
The peanut (Arachis hypogaea) does adhere to the dictionary definition of a nut (a fruit that consists of a hard or leathery shell enclosing an edible kernel), but it actually isn’t botanically a nut at all. The peanut is a legume and grows on an annual bush, the pollinated flowers of which are pulled underground as the peanuts develop, hence its species name “hypogaea”, which means "growing beneath the ground". It is also known as the groundnut and is one of the world’s leading food crops, having protein levels second only to the soybean.
Peanuts need a frost-free growing season four to five months long. If your growing season is short, you can start them inside two weeks before the average date of your last frost, then transplant them out four to five weeks later.
If you live in warmer areas, you can plant them directly.
You could also try growing them in containers.....fun for all the family when harvest time comes round!
Plant your peanuts 1-3 inches deep in well-worked sandy soil which is high in organic matter. Space your seeds (or your seedlings if you have started them indoors) 6-8 inches apart. Keep well-watered until the plants start to flower and then water less. If there is too much rain or humidity (or watering!) at flowering time, this can be a cause of blind (empty) pods. Mulching well will help the pegs to become established.
The pods ripen 120 to 150 days after the seeds are planted. If the crop is harvested too early, the pods will be unripe, and if they are harvested late the pods may snap off and remain in the soil.
To harvest your peanuts, cut off the main root of the peanut plant by cutting through the soil just below the level of the peanut pods.
Lift the plant and shake it, and turn it upside and leave to dry - this will take about 3-4 days. Make sure the drying peanuts are well ventilated and kept out of the rain. When dry, remove the peanut pods from the rest of the bush and store them in a cool dry place.
We hope have enjoyed this little "sneak peak" at a variety new to Kings Seeds...we could be persuaded to give you more "sneak peaks" at our new varieties, so keep watching this space!
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Have a lovely week in your garden!