Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Growing Peanuts in North Georgia

  Early in the spring, we planted a small patch of peanuts. Peanuts are a big crop in Ga, as I am sure many of you know former president Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer. They grow really well in south GA ,we thought we would just see how they would do in the north GA mountains. Honestly, we did not have a lot of hope for them, but we were surprised. When we dug our plants we were delighted to find quite a few peanuts. There are not enough to keep us in peanut butter for the next year, but hey we are going to enjoy having  a nice big pot of boiled peanuts. Peanuts need a long growing season. We started ours inside under grow lights. They came up and grew great, but when we transplanted them into the garden they wilted badly. Thankfully they soon recovered and grew at a steady pace. Peanuts like sandy loose, and well-drained soil to grow, but you can still grow them in clay soil. Which was perfect for us because we don't have anywhere near sandy soil. Peanuts go through a process called pegging which means that they have runners underground that also produce peanuts. The plants don't just produce peanuts at the crown of the plant. It all depends on the variety and in what conditions they are grown in but they should produce about 25 to 50 peanut pods. We planted our peanuts in a small square "peanut patch" which was actually to small for them. We still got a good harvest, though. Next year instead of a small patch we plan on making a long rectangular three-foot wide row. We are thinking about plowing in some sand and compost into the row before we plant Peanuts plants grow to be 12 to 18 inches tall and up to three feet long. So you should space your rows about 36 inches apart. If you don't want to start the seeds inside and then transplant them then you plant the seeds directly into the ground. If you do so you need to make sure that it has been three weeks after the last frost and the temperature of the soil is above 60 degrees. You should plant your seeds just shy of 2 inches deep, and 4 to 6 inches apart. We eventually saw small yellow blooms and that means they've started making peanuts. After a long wait, they were finally ready. There is no sure sign to tell when they're ready, that we know of. Just look on your seed package and it will tell you the number of days till  mature.  Otherwise, you will just have to dig one of them up and see if your peanuts are ready to eat. It is really fun to grow peanuts, we enjoyed them this year. If you have not tried growing peanuts give them a try it might turn out better than you had hoped.
Just a small sample of our peanut crop.

Whole peanut plant

Peanuts growing on plant base

Peanuts that grew along the stem, they grow underground. 

The plant sends out little roots that grow into the ground and make peanuts !

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Our First Mushrooms

   On one of our trips to the Mother Earth News Fair Grand bought some shiitake mushroom plugs. Grand took them home and placed them in the fridge and unfortunately there they stayed for months. But finally, we decided it was time to see if we had what it takes to be mushroom farmers. Well Ok maybe not farmers exactly, but at least see if we could grow some mushrooms.  We talked to our friend Ron Cabe a super mushroom farmer. We buy almost all our mushroom from him at the farmer's market.  Being the great person that he is he agreed to  help us do our mushroom plugs. Read all about the preparing of our mushroom logs at our Learning to grow our own mushrooms post. After we finished our logs they got to relax in a nice shady spot in the woods. When about eight months had passed our friend Ron "Mushroom Man' Cabe said they were ready to soak. Because to actually get the mushrooms to grow they need to soak in some kind of water. So we headed down to the farm, and the logs got plopped down into a nice deep spot in the creek. The logs soaked for a couple of days. We put them in on Saturday afternoon and left them in the creek until Monday afternoon. Then we took them back home to their shady spot in the woods. Well in a week we found some mushrooms! So to celebrate we had cheese and mushroom omelets, with our new mushrooms and fresh eggs from the farm. We've been thinking about growing some different types of mushrooms since we love mushrooms. We're always using mushrooms, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you have ever grown any kind of mushrooms please let us know what kind and how you grew them. We would love to hear from you.