Companion planting is a gardening technique where different plants are grown together to provide various benefits such as nutrient enhancement, natural pest control, and improved plant growth. One lesser-known yet highly effective companion planting option is growing peanuts alongside other plants. Peanuts, while unique in their growth process, are potent nitrogen fixers that can improve soil health, making them ideal for numerous food crops.
Various herbs and other vegetables are excellent peanut companion plants as they can repel insect pests, attract beneficial insects, and pollinators, as well as add nutrients and vitamins to the soil. These plants provide a mutually beneficial relationship that creates a thriving garden ecosystem. By understanding the best companion plants for peanuts, growers can maximize their garden’s potential and achieve healthier and more abundant yields.
Best Peanut Companion Plants
Peanuts are a versatile plant and can be grown alongside many different vegetables. Lettuce, spinach, and radish are excellent choices, as they have a short growing season and will be harvested before peanuts start to flower. Tomatoes, beets, and carrots also share similar growing requirements with peanuts and won’t overshadow them. Corn is another great companion plant for peanuts, as their complementary root systems help improve soil drainage and water retention.
Herbs such as rosemary, savory, chamomile, wormwood, chives, coriander, tansy, yarrow, dill, mint, thyme, hyssop, chervil, geranium, rue, and oregano make good peanut companion plants. These herbs not only repel insect pests but also attract beneficial insects and pollinators. They help improve soil quality by adding nutrients and vitamins, creating a healthier environment for your peanuts to grow in.
Flower companions can enhance peanut plants by offering multiple benefits, such as attracting pollinators, deterring pests, and improving soil quality. Nasturtiums and marigolds are commonly used for their pest-repelling properties, while cosmos and yellow flowers help attract pollinators.
In summary, there are plenty of excellent companion plants for peanuts, including vegetables like lettuce, spinach, radish, tomatoes, beets, carrots, and corn, as well as herbs such as rosemary, savory, chamomile, and other listed herbs that provide pest control, attract pollinators, and improve soil health. Last but not least, flowers like nasturtiums, marigolds, cosmos, and yellow flowers serve as beautiful and beneficial companions for your peanut plants.
Selecting Companion Plants
When planning to grow peanuts, it’s essential to carefully choose the right companion plants. This section will provide guidance on selecting plants based on Growing Conditions Compatibility and Shared Benefits.
Growing Conditions Compatibility
To ensure a successful peanut garden, it’s necessary to select companion plants that thrive under similar growing conditions. Peanuts require:
- Soil: Fertile sandy loam
- Sunlight: Full sun
- Soil moisture: Well-drained soil
- Soil pH: Between 5.8 and 6.5
Companion plants like cucumber, squash, tomatoes, and melons are ideal candidates because they share similar growing requirements, including soil, sun, and moisture preferences. Short season plants, such as lettuce, snow peas, spinach, and radish pair well with peanuts as their production cycle ends before peanuts begin to flower and peg into the soil.
Companion planting aims to create a balanced ecosystem that provides shared benefits among the plants, such as:
- Soil structure enhancement: Corn, with its shallow root system, complements peanuts’ deep taproots by loosening the soil and improving drainage. In turn, peanuts break up compacted soil and improve water retention.
- Nutrient contributions: Plants like pole beans fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting neighboring peanut plants. Peanuts also benefit from the calcium provided by some companion plants.
- Natural pest control: Herbs like chamomile, wormwood, chives, and coriander act as natural repellents against insect pests, while attracting beneficial insects and pollinators that help boost peanut production.
By carefully considering growing conditions compatibility and shared benefits, you can create a thriving peanut garden with diverse, mutually beneficial companion plants.
Benefits of Peanut Companion Planting
Peanut companion planting can help with pest control by attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings. These insects can feed on harmful pests, reducing the need for harmful pesticides. Some companion plants that deter pests include cruciferous vegetables and swan plants.
Some flowering plants and herbs can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. These beneficial insects can significantly improve the pollination process and increase crop yields. Some examples of good companion plants for peanuts in this regard are marigolds and nasturtiums.
Companion planting with nitrogen-fixing legumes such as pole beans can enhance soil fertility. Legumes have nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their root nodules, which converts nitrogen from the air into a usable form for plants. This process improves overall soil nutrient levels and promotes optimal plant growth.
Peanut companion plants can improve soil health by enhancing soil structure and increasing organic matter. Some companion plants, like corn, have root systems that complement peanuts’ deep taproot, improving drainage and water retention. This process promotes better soil structure, allowing for improved airflow and more robust root growth.
Reduced Weed Growth
Using peanut companion plants can also help reduce weed growth. When companion plants are grown closely together with peanuts, they compete with weeds for nutrients, space, and water. This competition leaves less room for weeds to thrive, effectively suppressing them without the need for harmful herbicides.
Considerations for Peanut Planting
When planting peanuts, it is essential to provide adequate space between plants to ensure optimal growth and yield. Peanuts generally require around 36 to 60 inches between rows and 9 to 12 inches between plants within the row. This spacing allows proper airflow between plants, reducing the risk of diseases, and helps prevent the plants from competing for nutrients.
Peanuts have a complex root system with underground runners that produce the peanut pods. They need enough room to grow and develop properly. Planting peanuts too close together may result in significantly reduced yields and overcrowded growing conditions.
The planting time for peanuts may vary depending on the specific variety and regional climate. Generally, peanuts grow best in warm conditions, and they typically need a growing season of 100 to 130 days to reach maturity. Peanuts should be planted in the spring months after the last chance of frost has passed and when soil temperatures have reached at least 65°F. This ensures that the ground is warm enough for proper root development and germination.
Compatibility with Companion Plants
Optimal companion plants for peanuts include those with similar growing requirements, like soil pH and moisture levels. Some suitable companions are beets, carrots, potatoes, pole beans, lettuce, and cruciferous vegetables. Planting these companions near peanuts can provide additional benefits such as pest control or improved soil health.
Peanuts have a relatively high calcium requirement, so companion plants should ideally also thrive in calcium-rich soil. Some plants may not be suitable companions for peanuts due to their dissimilar growing requirements or incompatibility with the peanut plant’s structure and growth habit.
Container Gardening and Transplanting
Peanuts can be grown in containers, provided that the container is large enough to accommodate the plant’s growth and has proper drainage holes. The soil pH in containers should be monitored closely and adjusted as needed, maintaining a pH between 5.8 and 6.2 for optimal peanut growth.
Transplanting peanuts can be a delicate process, as their roots are sensitive to disturbances. If transplanting is necessary, it should be done with care to minimize root damage and reduce the risk of transplant shock. This can be achieved by carefully removing the plant from its original container or soil, ensuring that a sizable root ball is intact, and gently placing it into its new location.
Peanut Growing Tips and Tricks
Caring for Peanut Plants
Peanuts, also known as goobers or groundnuts, require specific care to achieve optimal growth and yields. First, ensure that your peanut plants have full sun and well-drained soil. If you’re planting peanuts in an area with limited space, consider using a trellis to support their growth. This will allow the plants to climb and maximize the available space.
To help retain moisture and prevent evaporation, you can make use of groundcover companion planting. Some suitable companions for peanuts include certain herbs like chamomile, chives, and oregano, as these plants have properties that repel insect pests, attract beneficial insects, and even add nutrients to the soil. Also, cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage and kale, can help improve the organic matter in the soil while providing natural pest control. To benefit from a symbiotic relationship, avoid planting peanuts with members of the allium family, such as onions or garlic, because they may compete for the same nutrients.
When it comes to planting peanuts, you can either sow the seeds directly in your garden or start them indoors in trays. Make sure to plant them 1-2 inches deep, with a spacing of about 3-4 inches between each seed. To maintain the soil fertility, use well-composted manure and ensure that the soil pH is slightly acidic, ranging from 5.5-7.0.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
During the growing season, peanuts can face a variety of issues that may affect their growth and production. For instance, if you notice yellowing leaves, it may be due to a lack of nitrogen in the soil. To remedy this, you can try planting your peanuts with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This will help improve the available nitrogen, promoting healthier growth and yield.
Keep an eye out for pests, such as aphids or slugs, on your peanut plants. You can use natural methods like companion planting and attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs to control these pests or resort to organic pesticides if necessary.
In case your peanut plants have a stunted growth or weak root system, it could be due to the soil’s poor quality. To address this, make sure you provide a rich, loamy, and well-draining soil that is abundant in organic matter.
To sum up, by following some essential care tips and troubleshooting common problems, you can help your peanut plants thrive and produce a plentiful harvest.
What can I plant next to peanuts?
Peanuts are legumes and they fix nitrogen in the soil, which can be beneficial to other plants. Corn, cucumbers, and many types of squash can do well when planted near peanuts. Generally, you’ll want to avoid planting peanuts near other legumes or nitrogen-fixing plants, as they can compete for resources.
Can you plant peanuts next to sweet potatoes?
It’s generally possible to plant peanuts next to sweet potatoes, but keep in mind that both of these plants are root crops and will need enough space to grow without competition. Furthermore, sweet potatoes prefer a slightly acidic soil (pH around 5.5 to 6.5) whereas peanuts prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 5.8 to 7.0), so you’ll need to manage your soil pH properly if you want to plant these two crops together.
Where do peanut plants grow best?
Peanut plants grow best in warm climates as they require a long growing season of about 120 to 130 frost-free days. They need full sun and prefer well-drained, sandy loam or sandy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (5.8 to 7.0).
Can you grow peanuts in containers?
Yes, you can grow peanuts in containers. Use a large container (at least 12 inches deep and 20 inches in diameter) and high-quality potting soil. Ensure that the container has good drainage, as peanuts do not like waterlogged soil. You can plant a few peanut seeds in each container and thin them to the strongest one or two plants after germination. Provide plenty of sunlight, keep the soil moist, and remember to “hill” the plants by piling soil around their bases as they grow to encourage proper development of the peanut pods.
I’m Michael Barnes and I love what I do. Every day, I get to work with the land and help create something that is essential for life. But it’s not always easy. Every day brings new challenges or unexpected natural disasters in order to produce what we need every day: meat; fruit, juice, and healthy dairy products!