Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 9 years ago
Two springs ago I was living where many birds hung out (my bird feeder might have had something to do with that). I bought the bird-feed peanuts, and had a blue jay that would take them from my hand. He would "hide" one and come back for more. After a couple of weeks, I started finding some pretty "weeds" popping up in many of my planters. Ahha! So THAT'S what a peanut plant looks like!. They did very well, and are an attractive plant. Peanuts do need lots of warm weather, but are very durable plants.
I doubt you will be able to find edible varieties that are raw seed unless you know someone at a grower or processer. Most if not all peanuts sold are heat treated because of disease/bacteria. I work for a company now that did carry raw peanuts at one point, but they are hard to come by so we stopped. The company I worked for prior would roast peanuts for peanut butter, and those raw peanuts coming in worked fantastic. I will say that they really like loose soil. Good luck to you. I finally gave up and decided to grow almonds this year.
permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
posted 9 years ago
Not being in France I cannot be certain of what wild bird seed you are getting but I have had the same "volunteer" p-nuts as well as sunflower and other things grow from spilled or dropped bird feed. In fact I have known folks to go get a small amount for gardening from the local pet shop before they closed as the sold raw p-nuts by the lb. Of course lots of local places have "seed" p-nuts for sale here although I never plant them. I know a farmer that will let me walk the field after harvest and I can pick up bushels the harvester left behind.
They do sell seed peanut in Portugal. We grew a few once when we first arrived here and they did ok - not brilliant because our soil was still so crappy, but planted a few and would walk around picking them and eating them out of hand when they were ripe.
Maybe you could try sprouting some of the bird-feed peanuts in a jar to see if they are viable.
I might (nothing definite - looks like I'm gonna be stuck indoors more than ever for a while) be able to get out and see if the seed merchant in town still has any in stock and send them to you. I think they sell them loose, by the kilo, and still in their husks.
Just wanted to mention the hog peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata. I haven't grown it yet, but here is an excerpt about it on the Edible Forest Garden Wiki (the author is likely Eric Toensmeier). It is also suggested as a possible but yet untried companion for sunchoke.
"Hog peanut is a great example of an underutilized native species ripe for inclusion in edible forest gardens. It is one of the few nitrogen fixers for shade - commonly found in dense mats in dry open woods in New England. As a groundcover it is very dense and will smother anything under 3' tall by late summer. Thus companions should be at least 4' high (any nice size established shrubs or trees jostaberry size or higher). Spring ephemerals like ramps also make good companions as hog peanuts are a bit late to get started as they grow from seed each year. In our garden hog peanut smothers the following: sea kale, skirret, gooseberry, running juneberry, and many more.
To me this is not a major food plant, but a great native nitrogen fixing groundcover with a minor food bonus. After pollination the flowers bury themselves and form beans underground. In our garden they are always between the mulch and the soil. They are hard to find at first because they are brown, but you can get a handful in ten minutes in a dense patch. Kind of a minor food as a result of this slow harvest, and not real heavy producers, but fun to harvest and good to eat."
This is an old thread, but some of us would rather search the old stuff rather than asking the same question again so I'm updating with my information. (Disclaimer: I'm still in the researching phase of this, so this is not experiential knowledge)
There are 4 types of peanuts, all of which are nitrogen fixing.
1) Runners reproduce obviously by runner. They are consumed salted or ground into peanut butter.
2) Virginias are either bunch-type or runner. They are large "fruit". They are roasted or served in the shell.
3) Spanish are bunch. They are small "fruit". They are frequently processed into things like candy and peanut butter.
4) Valencias are bunch. They are sweet and are either roasted or served in the shell.
While Wikipadia lists Tennessee Red and Tennesse White as separate types, other sources I've read list them as breeds in the Valencia group.