Peanut plant is an unusual one as its flowers bloom on the plant but the nut grows beneath the ground. Peanut is the best-liked snack while watching a movie, taking a walk along the beach or during a chitchat at the park.
It is used as food crop and oil crop at the same time. Apart from edible oil, peanut oil is used to make margarine, medicines, varnish, soap etc. So, peanut farming can definitely find a market.
India is the second largest producer of peanut. Peanuts usually grow in cold areas with low rainfall. So, it is one of the major oil crops cultivated in the middle regions of our country.
Though peanut can be farmed at, up to an altitude of 1500 metres in Kerala, it is good to cultivate it at 400-1000 metres to get better yields.
Normally, peanut is farmed as sole crop in black cotton soil. Loam soil is the best for peanut farming. The soil need to have high water and air permeability. The pH value should be between 6-7 to ensure good yields.
Sunny areas that has nutrient soil can be chosen for peanut farming. Peanut farming also helps to prevent soil erosion.
About 75-100 cm rainfall is best for peanut cultivation. It will be ready to harvest in about five months. Since it is a short plant, it can be farmed with tall plants like cotton or jowar in multiple farming. Frequent irrigation is required for peanut farming.
In Kerala, people usually cultivate peanut seeds bought from the market. One of the top grade seeds are produced by Coimbatore Agricultural University. The CO variety of seeds produced by them are featured with high productivity. The seeds should be sowed after moistening them for some time.
More than 100 peanuts can be harvested from one plant. Some varieties that can be harvested within 100 days also are available now. This helps to cultivate peanut twice a year.
Farming on ground
Farming in grow bag
Peanut for health
Peanut contains more protein than in egg, meat and most vegetables except for soy beans. Almost all of the necessary amino acids can be obtained by eating peanut with milk. It is rich with protein, fat, minerals, carbohydrates, fibre, phosphorus, calcium, iron, Vitamin E and B, magnesium, zinc, potassium and copper.
Also, peanut prevents TB and liver diseases. Peanut has to be chewed well for easy digestion. Peanut butter is prepared by grinding fried peanuts with some salt into a fine paste. It digests easily and is good for children. Peanut candy made of peanuts and jaggery is a nutritious and healthy snack.