Pests and diseases
Racz says the only pest you need to worry about with peanuts is the potato leafhopper, a tiny insect that sucks the juice out of the peanut plant’s leaves, which will eventually start to turn yellow.
“Sometimes a good downpour will knock them off,” says Racz. So, if you find some on your plant, try hitting them with a blast from the hose. Otherwise, pick these little green wedge-shaped pests off your plant as soon as you see them.
Harvesting and eating peanuts
So far, so good, right? When it’s finally time to harvest your peanuts, be prepared: it won’t be as easy as picking a ripe tomato and biting into it right in the garden. “This is where a lot of gardeners find problems,” says Racz.
He says as soon as the first frost hits the top of the plants, it’s time to harvest your peanuts. “Leave them out as long as possible for the best yield.”
To harvest, pull your whole plant up out of the ground and hang it upside down in your garage or basement—anywhere with good air flow, says Racz. Leave it there until the peanuts are sufficiently cured.
“If you can shake it and it rattles inside it, then you can shell it or roast it,” says Racz. Many people don’t let their peanuts dry long enough and there is still too much water in them when they try to roast them.
When peanuts first come out of the ground, they are about 60 per cent water. If you try to get them in the oven right away, “that’s more like steaming them,” says Racz. If you let them dry, then their water content will decrease to about 10 per cent—and that’s when you want to roast them.
You can roast peanuts in or out of their shells, but for a whole other flavour experience, Racz says you can take peanuts straight out of the ground and boil them with a bit of salt.
And that’s part of the beauty of growing your own peanuts: you get to control how much salt and fat they’re dressed with.