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Peanut as cover crop  RSS feed

 
trinda storey
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Location: kent, washington
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Anyone tried growing peanuts as a cover crop
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Since peanut grows much like potato (fruits are in the soil and must be dug to harvest).
It most likely would not be a great plant for use as a cover crop since in order to prevent it from re-seeding you would have to disturb the soil by digging all the peanuts up.


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trinda storey
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Ah good point how about to regenerate the soil
 
Marco Banks
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But I wouldn't think that there would be that much soil disturbance in comparison to the surface area of soil that is covered.

I use sweet potatoes as a cover crop in this regard, and you've got to dig those up as well in order to harvest.  Some soil disturbance is inevitable, but in the grand scheme of things, you'd only be disturbing maybe 20%, if that.  If you've got loose, friable soil with good tilth, you'd be able to stand above the mature peanut plants, pull them straight up and out of the soil, and harvest your crop.  The vines would then be composted or just piled up as mulch.  And if you don't get 100% of the nuts out of the ground, all the better . . .  self-seeding cover crops that produce calories next year is a bonus.  In that regard, I haven't planted sweet potatoes in 10 years.

So, yes, I think that if you have a space where you don't care about volunteer peanuts next year and you are just looking to get a lot of biomass, peanuts would be a good choice.
 
Marco Banks
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OK -- I visited a Vietnamese grocery store last night and bought a bag of raw peanuts to plant on my hillside.  I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens.  My hunch is that they'll not only make a nice ground-cover/living mulch, but we'll get a nice crop as well.

In that area, I've got Moringa, B14 Russian Comfrey, and now peanuts.  I had planted a spring cover crop (white oats, various legumes, various vetches, nasturtium, and a few other things).  The cover crop is pretty spent already, so I chopped-and-dropped it, and then just planted a few more comfrey roots and the peanuts.  It's really nice soil (as it gets a lot of mulch and a cover crop twice a year.

We shall see.

 
Alexandra Clark
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Peanuts are notoriously heavy feeders if you want really good harvests. While using it as a biomass cover crop may be appealing, to get good nuts, it needs a lot of nitrogen. Will be interested to see your end results on this one--after all, there is often a lot of difference between permaculture results and what commercial farmers say.
 
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