Peanuts. Photo curtesy of Microsoft clip art.


A peanut field. Photo courtesy of Joseph Hill of Flickr. While some plants, like tomatoes, prefer to grow in a richly garden soil, legumes are able to grow in relatively average to poor quality soil. The ideal pH of soil for peanut growth is between 6.0 and 6.5, which is slightly acidic. Peanuts tend to grow well in stiff soil with a clay-like property. However, this kind of soil dyes the pods a darker color, which, for aesthetic reasons, is undesirable in the peanut market. Thus, they are more often grown in light, sandy, porous soil. That isn't to say they don't grow well, in the lighter soil; simply that the crop yield isn't quite as high. As far as fertilization goes, since the peanut is pretty hardy, it can grow in the same fertilizer that is used for corn, cowpeas, or cotton. The only requirement the peanut plant has is that there is plenty of lime in the soil.

The peanut is also quite flexible in regards to how much water it receives. Once the plant itself is firmly established, it is both drought resistant and, to an extent, tolerant of flooding. The ideal amount of water for commercial peanut production is roughly between 500 and 1000 mm. However, if the environment lacks precipitation, then it can also survive and produce a crop in 300 - 400 mm of water.

As the flowers of the peanut plant mature, they tend to droop towards the ground. This is an adaptation that allows them easier access to the ground when driving their pegs in. For more information on this flower phenomenon, please see the reproduction page.

Cartoon picture of a peanut. Picture courtesy of Microsoft clip art. Peanuts, like all legumes, have a symbiotic relationship with a rhizobial bacteria to change atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into a more useable form, such as ammonia (NH3). It proves beneficial to the farmer to plant the peanut in the same field before or around the same time as another plant because of these bacteria. If the nitrogen fixing peanut plant is in the field first, then it is able to enrich the soil with useable nitrogen, thus decreasing or altogether eliminating the need for adding nitrogen to the fertilizer. For more information about the peanut's relationship the the rhizobial bacteria, please visit the interactions page.


How does it eat?

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