Permaculture Plant: Peanut

The peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is a herbaceous annual that can grow 30–50 cm tall by approximately 1 metre wide. Being a member of the Fabaceae family links them to other legumes such as peas and beans. Peanuts are a fantastic plant in any garden, but particularly for an intensive permaculture system, as they provide both food for us and food for the soil.

Growing Conditions

Peanuts originate from the northern parts of South America so they prefer a warm climate. The more temperate and tropical northern regions of Australia are best suited for peanut growing, but don’t let that put you off, people of southern Australia. The key is to make sure they are always warm. Peanut seeds (nuts) are planted in a full sun aspect during spring and harvested when the plants begin to yellow in late summer. If unsure, start growing your peanuts in a hothouse during spring and plant out into the garden long after the risk of frost has passed.

Peanuts require a very well-drained soil, so if in doubt about your drainage, plant your peanuts into the top of a small mound. This assists drainage and minimises the chance of fungal infestation.