Peanuts, corn, and mouse melons

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Here's one of my raised beds with peanuts then corn at the end (the corn self seeded) plus I've just planted some mouse melon seedlings amongst the corn and hopefully they can use the stalks as a natural trellis.

    Growing peanuts is pretty labor intensive because you can't mulch around the plants and that means you have to constantly weed around them. The reason you can't mulch is because when the peanut plants mature and flower they produce tendrils which actually grow back downwards pushing into the soil to grow the nut (legume).

    Therefore, the soil needs to be kept pretty loose and free from debris or mulch and of course weeds, which can take a fair bit of time out of your day :) I started all these plants from only 2 peanut plants and they're actually pretty easy to germinate - spring is the right time of year to plant them out.

    I have never grown mouse melons (Cucamelon - melothria scabra) before I got mine off eBay here but I have heard they're a real treat! I raised mine in seedling punnets and was pretty surprised they all germinated so now I'm looking for places to plant them out. Another name for mouse melons is the mexican sour gherkin and I'm keen to see if they are similar to a cucumber and if they pickle ok.

    The corn is going to be a little hit and miss because they have germinated on their own after a crop I grew through winter and left some of the cobs dry on the plants and fall off. Whether the plants grow and produce a good crop is going to be interesting, regardless, I'll be planting out more corn soon.

    mouse melon under corn.jpg mouse melons seedlings in punnets tray.jpg corn and peanuts in raised bed.jpg peanut plant in raised bed.jpg
     
  2. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    What do you do with the peanuts? Just eat them as is, or make something out of them, process them in some way? roasting etc?
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I really love boiled peanuts! I remember my grandfather buying several kilos at a time of boiled peanuts when I was a kid and the whole family would snack on them like there was no tomorrow. You used to be able to buy them loose at the supermarket but these days I only see them sold prepackaged - they're pretty reasonably priced and are simply peanuts boiled in salted water shells and all.
     
  4. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    ahh I remember having boiled peanuts as a kid, and spending a while shelling them.
     
  5. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Are corn and peanuts of the same type of crop? Are corn one of the crops you don't need to rotate?

    Also your bed looks nice and big, is it 2 x 3m sleepers long? How do you find the metal posts, would you use them again? Do you find the larger beds work well or would you go smaller and more of them next time?
     
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  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Boiled peanuts are not that hard to shell - my kids love them! I suppose it's as inconvenient as shelling and eating pistachios.

    Corn and peanuts are different because corn is a grass and peanut is a legume but I tend to rotate all my crops whether people technically believe rotation is necessary or not. If a crop self-seeds and is doing well in the same position I will generally leave it in place because just as I like to rotate my crops I'm not manic about it either. Some people grow the same crop in the same spot year after year without any problems or build up of disease. Rotating crops and not growing similar plant species in the same spot for too long are good gardening management techniques; however, IMHO the most important thing people can do is enrich the soil between crops with plenty of compost, manures, and appropriate fertiliser.

    The sleepers I use to build beds are generally 2.4 metres long. I have a mixture of long, square, colorbond steel, furrows, and large pots in my vegetable allotment. This bed is 9.6 metres long (4 x sleepers) and 1.2 m wide. My very first DIY garden beds were 2.4 x 2.4 square and I quickly found out I couldn't reach the middle without getting into the beds, which is a very annoying design flaw :) So, I decided to make my garden beds long and wide enough so I could reach the middle easily and they work great! I'm an even bigger fan of the raised colorbond steel beds particularly the smaller round beds .8 m high and 1 m wide because they are the perfect size for stand up gardening whilst still being big enough to grow decent crops.

    The alloy sleeper joiners in this garden bed are good in the sense that if a sleeper rots it can be easily changed by sliding it out and replacing it. However, these joiners in particular don't hold the sleepers in place very well and I found the bed bowing out etc so I had to reinforce the corners with star pickets driven in to stop the movement. In short, no I won't be using these joiners again and I reckon simply bolting sleepers together is probably more effective.

    There's a place for the larger beds especially for big crops like corn but for most food crops I think smaller beds are better and if I had to choose I would say more smaller beds instead of several big ones.

    Like I wrote above, I'm a real fan of stand up gardening (I need to write a blog post about it one day) and the colorbond steel beds are my favourite by far. I've had 3 large 3 m long oval steel beds for years but I purchased my first small round ones a few years ago by chance when my local gardening landscaping centre sold them under cost because they couldn't get rid of them. They're like a huge open pot but act as a standard garden bed for water retention etc. I'm keen to buy some more because I really enjoy the practicality of growing crops in them. They're easy to walk around, don't take much to fill, easy to irrigate, reach from any side, etc.
     
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  7. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    I have been trying to find un-roasted peanuts to plant down here...Any tips where I might buy some anyone??
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I have got them at the supermarket in the health food area they were just dried in the shells not roasted but I never tried planting them. I should have. ..

    I grew my seed stock over one season with jusr two plants i purchased from bunnings turning them into about 30.
     
  9. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Good idea utilising the corn stalks for climbers. I am thinking of planting my snake beans next to the corn so they can climb on it.
    Peanuts, love to grow some
     
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  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    The corn is also acting as shelter for the cucumbers because as summer hits the spring plants will be doing it tough.

    Snake beans are one of my favorite plants and I need to grow some more (thanks for reminding me).

    Yes, it has taken me 12 months to grow enough peanut seed for this latest crop and it's looking good so far. I'll post some pics soon!
     
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  11. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    Yay! I found some unroasted peanuts- Foodland at Waikerie have Gaganis produce Raw red peanuts.
     
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  12. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The health food store might have some so I will check them. I will also check Foodland, thanks for the heads up Tim :D
     
  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    My mouse melons are coming on! I've eaten one (just crunch them whole) and they taste like a tiny cucumber - as expected :)

    I'll be interested to see how they pickle...

    mouse melon cucamelon mexican gherkin.jpg

    mouse melon cucamelon mexican gherkin close up.jpg
     
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  14. Jenni

    Jenni Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Ok trying corn for first time. They seem to be doing well. I have a couple of pumpkin plants? that have sprouted from my composted soil so thought I would leave them there unless anyone suggests not a good idea.

    IMAG0364.jpg IMAG0363_1.jpg
     
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  15. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    Should be ok, as far as I know.:dunno:
     
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  16. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Nice pics and healthy looking corn! Those pumpkins are in perfect position because they can get a little shade from the corn and shelter it from the hot summer days - well done :twothumbsup:
     
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