Anyone else out there remember this song from their childhood? Somehow this little earworm resurfaced in my memory around the time I found my first peanut plants last season, and now every time I do actually find a peanut in my yard, or even think about the peanut plants I've found in my yard, I have a continuous loop of "Found a Peanut" playing in my mind. And now you probably do, too. Sorry about that.
When I last mentioned the peanut chronicles (you can read all of the posts here), I had sufficient evidence to suspect that I would once again find a peanut or two growing in my garden this year. And the squirrels didn't let me down. Despite the handful of peanuts I found and removed from the garden early in the spring, I still found a number of peanut sprouts this year, two of which I left to grow just to see what would come of them. I didn't tend to the plants much at all outside of giving the plants a good drink of water on a regular basis, and by the time fall came around, I had almost completely forgotten about them. And to be completely honest, it wasn't until after we had already had a light frost that I remembered my peanut experiment.
The first plant I dug up was in one of my raised beds, next to the tomatoes. To my surprise, it didn't have any sign of frost damage (raised beds for the win!), but after carefully digging up the soil around the plant and sifting through it, there wasn't a single peanut to be found. Needless to say, I didn't have high expectations for the second plant, especially when I saw that the second plant, which came up behind the garage next to the rhubarb, clearly did not fare as well with the light frost.
But low and behold, after carefully loosening up the soil, I lifted the plant out of the ground to find three small peanuts attached to the plant:
Not a bumper crop by any means, but after the first plant came up empty, I was excited to see that it had produced something! I know it's strange to feel disappointment for an experiment in which I had such little investment (and quite honestly, something for which my expectations where not that high), but my inner biology geek takes over sometimes and I guess that deep down, I really wanted to find at least something, anything under the soil.
Following the collective advice of the internet on harvesting peanuts, I let the entire plant, peanuts and all dry for a couple of weeks. Based on what I had read, I had a pretty good suspicion that the peanuts were not mature, but I was still anxious to crack into them and see what I had. If you remember, the peanut plants I gave my brother last year had a good number of peanuts attached, but the squirrels beat him to it, so this was really my first chance to see what might be inside.
They were not at all mature enough to taste (the nuts were actually quite soft still, and the skin was still firmly attached to the forming nut), but still kind of cool to see. It's hard to say if it was our growing conditions this year, the source/variety of the original peanut the squirrel planted, or simply the fact that Minnesota is not the ideal zone for a peanut farm, but whatever the reason, I was still an interesting experiment. I'm still curious enough that if another peanut plant were to sprout in a convenient location, I'd let it grow to see what happens, but I'm probably not likely to be going to go out of my way to repeat the experiment.
Labels: peanuts, squirrels