(Arachis hypogaea) Peanuts are an annual plant that originated in South America. The pods can be direct seeded into the garden after danger of frost. In northern gardens with shorter growing seasons, they can be started in the greenhouse several weeks before last frost and carefully transplanted out. Although it is best to remove the peanut seeds from the hulls, it is not necessary. Sow seeds 1 inch deep. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days. Ideal germination temperature is 68-75 F. Do not plant peanuts into soil until it averages 68F; they don't like excessively cool soil. Plants prefer loose, well-drained soil. Provide significant sunlight, as these plants love heat. Do not use nitrogen fertilizer. Plant seeds 6 to 12 inches apart but thin the final stand to 12 inches. Cultivate the soil around base of plant when flowers first emerge. The peanut plant sends out a vegetative “peg,” which protrudes into the soil where the nut forms. Harvest the entire plant by digging or pulling when the leaves have yellowed. Remove excess soil by shaking and hang the entire plant upside down in a cool environment suitable for drying. When adequately dried, the shells can be pulled free of the pods and used or stored for future use.