Groundnuts: ngubu, from the Bantu Kikongo language: goobers, or peanuts
Every year I attempt to grow a few new-to-me plants. One never knows what’ll do well here until one tries it, right? And this year’s experimental plant was peanuts, in the greenhouse.
Ostensibly, this plant was a perfect candidate: requiring 120-150 days to mature, it is self-fertile, prefers warm temperatures, and prefers sandy-loam soil. Excepting the latter, I could meet all the requirements it needs; my soil isn’t sandy-loam in the greenhouse but it’s as close as I am ever going to get to it, barring a midnight raid with a flatbed truck to the beach a mile away. So. I ordered a variety from Southern Exposure that likes our clay and northern climate, uprooted three beds of lettuces back in April, and planted them.
They were slow to grow, but eventually became monster plants. The yellow/orange flowers wrinkle up after pollination and bury themselves in the ground, ripening to a single seedpod. I watched and I watched the flowers wrinkle and aim downward…and never bury themselves. Even when I staked them to the ground, they didn’t do much in the way of peanut-making. The plants were spectacular, fleshy-leaved specimens that showed no signs of knowing The End was coming. And The End was, once I noticed that someone had been harvesting them for me.
Voles! Hungry little diggers they are. I wouldn’t say that half my harvest went to them, but probably a third did.
So, I pulled them all up. I got probably two gallons’ worth of nuts (in their shells mind) for a single packet of seeds. That’s a decent harvest, but…I don’t like to share. No more peanuts here, absolutely none for the voles.