How To Grow The Peanut And 105 Ways Of Preparing It For Human Consumption

February 10, 2012 by staff 

How To Grow The Peanut And 105 Ways Of Preparing It For Human Consumption, Reprinted 1983 for Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, George Washington Carver National Monument by Eastern National Park and Monument Association

Of all the money crops grown by Macon County farmers, perhaps there are none more promising than the peanut in its several varieties and their almost limitless possibilities.

Of the many good things in their favor, the following stand out as most prominent:

Like all other members of the pod-bearing family, they enrich the soil.
They are easily and cheaply grown.
For man the nuts possess a wider range of food values than any other legume.
The nutritive value of the hay as a stock food compares favorably with that of the cowpea.
They are easy to plant, easy to grow, and easy to harvest.
The great food-and-forage value of the peanut will increase in proportion to the rapidity with which we make it a real study. This will increase consumption, and, therefore, must increase production.
In Macon County, two crops per year of the Spanish variety can be raised.
The peanut exerts a dietetic or a medicinal effect upon the human system that is very desirable.
I doubt if there is another foodstuff that can be so universally eaten, in some form, by every individual.
Pork fattened from peanuts and hardened off with a little corn just before killing, is almost if not quite equal to the famous red-gravy hams, or the world renowned Beechnut breakfast bacon.
The nuts yield a high percentage of oil of superior quality.
The clean cake, after the oil has been removed, is very high in muscle-building properties (protein), and the ease with which the meal blends in with flour, meal, etc., makes it of especial value to bakers, confectioners, candy-makers, and ice cream factories.
Peanut oil is one of the best known vegetable oils.
A pound of peanuts contain a little more of the body-building nutrients than a pound of sirloin steak, while of the heat and energy producing nutrients it has more than twice as much.
There are many varieties of the peanut, all possessing more or less merit. A number have been tested here on our Station grounds and we can heartily recommend the following varieties in the order named:

First, The Spanish—As compared with most other varieties, the vines are small, and upright in growth, with nearly all the pods clinging close to the tap-root; hence, they can be planted closer together and the yield will be larger.

This variety produced 59 bushels per acre on very light, sandy soil.

Second, The Georgia and Tennessee Red—These are practically one and the same variety-habit of growth, and fruiting qualities are much the same as the Spanish-with us it made a slightly lower yield.

This variety has from three to four kernels to the pod. The nuts are rich in flavor.

Third, The Virginia Running Variety—This variety is often referred to as the typical American peanut. It is decidedly the most popular with the trade. The pods are large and white, the vines spreading, and under favorable conditions it fruits nearly out to the ends of the branches.

With reference to soil, there are two things to bear in mind; viz., whether they are for market or home consumption.

The trade demands a light-colored shell, which is only produced on light, sandy, porous soil.

More bushels per acre can be grown on stiff clayey soil than upon light soil, but the pods will be stained dark. In fact, any land that will produce good corn will produce good peanuts provided there is plenty of lime in it.

In the preparation of the soil, the chief essentials are:

Deep plowing, from 8 to 9 inches.
Thorough pulverization with a harrow, drag, smoothing board, etc.
Remove all stones, roots, stumps, clods, and obstructions of all kinds.
The peanut is an interesting plant, in that it adjusts itself to many kinds and methods of fertilization. It does well fertilized exactly as for corn; makes a splendid yield when given the same treatment as cowpeas; does equally well when fertilized the same as for cotton.

For the sandy soils of Macon County, we found the following compost mixture most satisfactory:

In the fall and winter, a large pen was filled with leaves—muck from the swamp—and farmyard manure. The mixture consisted of one load of leaves from the woods together with the rich top earth, one load of muck from the swamp, and one load of manure from the barns, pig-pen, poultry house, etc. The pen was filled in this way, a rough shed put over it to throw off the excess of water, so that the fertility would not be washed out. Eighteen tons of this mixture, together with 100 lbs. acid phosphate, 50 lbs. kainit, and 200 lbs. lime, were applied to the acre.

Where one must depend upon a commercial mixture, the one given below gave decidedly the largest yield:

Acid Phosphate 55 lbs.
Cotton-seed meal 125 lbs.
Kainit 100 lbs.
Barnyard manure 3 tons.
Agricultural lime 200 lbs.
NOTE—On soils containing lime, do not add any to the fertilizer mixture.

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