This plant is rich in names, being known locally as "ground pea,"

"goober," "earthnut," and "pindar," as well as generally by the name of

"peanut." The peanut is a true legume, and, like other legumes, bears

nitrogen-gathering tubercles upon its roots. The fruit is not a real nut

but rather a kind of pea or bean, and develops from the blossom. After

the fall of the blossom the "spike," or flower-stalk, pushes its way

into the ground, where the nut develops. If unable to penetrate the soil

the nut dies.

In the United States, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee

have the most favorable climates for peanut culture. Suitable climate

and soil, however, may be found from New Jersey to the Mississippi

valley. A high, porous, sandy loam is the most suitable. Stiffer soils,

which may in some cases yield larger crops than the loams, are yet not

so profitable, for stiff soils injure the color of the nut. Lime is a

necessity and must be supplied if the soil is deficient. Phosphoric acid

and potash are needed.

Greater care than is usually bestowed should be given to the selection

of the peanut seed. In addition to following the principles given in

Section XVIII, all musty, defective seeds must be avoided and all

frosted kernels must be rejected. Before it dries, the peanut seed is

easily injured by frost. The slightest frost on the vines, either before

or after the plants are dug, does much harm to the tender seed.

In growing peanuts, thorough preparation of the soil is much better than

later cultivation. Destroy the crop of young weeds, but do not disturb

the peanut crop by late cultivation. Harvest before frost, and shock

high to keep the vines from the ground.

The average yield of peanuts in the United States is twenty-two bushels

an acre. In Tennessee the yield is twenty-nine bushels an acre, and in

North Carolina and Virginia it reaches thirty bushels an acre.

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