A Guide to Growing Peanuts

James Earl Carter Jr., the man destined to become the 39th President of the U.S had a solid, but humble beginning in life. By the time he was born in 1924 in the tiny village of Plains Georgia, which is about as far removed from what was then Palestine; two events that would prelude the establishment of the State of Israel had already taken place. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the League of Nations (forerunner to today’s useless United Nations) had already recognized the Jewish people's historical ties with Palestine, and the "grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."


To grow peanuts indoors you should prepare a pot of 6-8 inches filled with sandy soil to within as inch of the rim, and after soaking your raw peanuts overnight, plant three of them to a depth of about 1-2 inches. The peanuts, like many of us, enjoy a warm location, preferably exposed to direct sunlight and a temperature of about 80 degrees F. Within 5-8 days you should be rewarded with sprouts.


Jimmy often spoke of being a “born again” Christian and in 1935 he was baptized in the conservative Southern Baptist Church. Two years later in 1937 the teenage Jimmy was still only 13 and had no reason to give any thought to any 13 year old Jewish boys, who were then living in Palestine under the British Mandate. He would probably have been preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and dreaming of a national Jewish Homeland. That year the Peel Commission, investigating riots that were to plague the region between the years 1936-39 were calling for an end to the Mandate, and to partition the land into an Arab and a Jewish state. While the Jews had both its opponents and supporters the Arabs rejected it, refusing to accept it as a solution. The plan was later abandoned and Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the commission "There is no such country as 'Palestine'; 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! Palestine is alien to us".


Peanuts grown in the garden or for commercial use need to be planted in early spring, as soon as the threat of ground frost has been diminished. They are particularly partial to residual fertilization from the crop that preceded them, and if the field has not been planted within the last 12 months then they will be happy with10 pounds 0-10-20 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet.  The soil should be loose before planting with rows spaced 24-36 inches apart.


In 1946 Jimmy had moved on from his life on the farm and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. In 1954 his father died and he returned to Georgia, where he would take over the family’s now thriving business, which included several thousand acres of peanuts.


The growing period for peanuts, depending on the variety is up to 160 days. Ideally for peanuts to flourish they need a long growing season in high temperatures, and a steady supply of moisture, but with a dry harvest season at the end.


During these years two momentous events took place, which Jimmy as a young man in his 20’s could not have overlooked. In 1947 the United Nations voted 33 to 13 (10 absentees) passing Resolution 181 proposing a Jewish and an Arab State.  This was accepted with jubilance by the then Jewish Population of Palestine. The Arabs refused. The delegates from the six Arab nations stormed out of the session, threatening not only war, but the annihilation of the Jewish state.  They vowed to resist the partition, demanding the entire country for themselves.  Haj Amin Al Husseini – Mufti of Jerusalem said “I declare a holy war my Moslem brothers murder them all."


Peanuts like to be rotated in sandy loam soils, and please don’t grow them on the same land for successive years. When rotating them take into account that they don’t like to be rotated with beans or tomatoes, but are quite happy with potatoes or corn.


In 1948 Jimmy was still many years away from his own Presidency, but on the 14th of May (5th day of Iyar, 5708) the State of Israel was finally born and President, Harry S. Truman signed the following memo; “This government has been informed that a Jewish State has been proclaimed in Palestine and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional Government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel.” The fledgling state was at war with its Arab neighbours’ within hours of its independence, and Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League said: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”


Bear in mind that the peanut root can penetrate to as much as 18 inches, therefore do make sure that your peanuts are planted in deep, well drained subsoil.


By 1970 the State of Israel was firmly established.  In 1967 as Jimmy was now making his way through the political ranks by becoming a member of the Georgia senate in 1962, and becoming its governor eight years later Israel was again fighting for its survival. On May 15th Egypt moved troops into the Sinai and by May 25th urged by Egypt, the armies of Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia moved their troops to Israel's borders.  Nasser didn’t mince his words when he said "Our basic goal is the destruction of Israel". Far from being destroyed Israel emerged victorious capturing the Sinai, Gaza, The West Bank, parts of the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. It offered to negotiate the return of the occupied territory.  The Arab conference summit held in Khartoum in September of that year issued the following statement:  "No Recognition of Israel, No Peace with Israel, No Negotiations with Israel."


In about 10-15 days your peanut plants will be about one inch high. They don’t like weeds and grasses, so make sure you cultivate your plants regularly, being careful not to throw any dirt on your peanuts.


In 1976 Jimmy won 19 out of 31 primaries, defeating Gerald Ford to become The United States 33rd President. In 1979 he would preside over the Egypt-Israel Peace accord which was signed at Camp David. Part of the negotiations involved the Palestinians and the future of the West Bank and Gaza." A five-year period of "transitional autonomy" was proposed. The Palestinians were offered this autonomy by Israel in exchange for peace. This would have eventually led to full statehood.  The Palestinians were not willing to recognize Israel and Yasser Arafat said “Let them sign what they like. False peace will not last."

The next stage is blossoming, and to ensure the proper formation of the nuts it is important to apply Gypsum at the rate of 15lbs per 1000 square feet of kernels. A peg or stem now forms, and gravity pulls these down into the soil where the peanut pod forms. It usually takes a period of about two months to mature, and each plant can now produce up to 50 peanuts.


Of course my knowledge of peanuts is purely academic, and I have never grown any in my life. However the information is readily available, and there is no reason to assume any deception on the part of the websites who share this knowledge with you.


This is more than can be said for Jimmy Carter’s new book with the ominous title of “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid”.  I wonder if Jimmy has been to busy with his peanuts to pay any attention to the events that have unfolded though most of his life. If he had he would have known about all the above and that these were followed by  the 1993 Oslo accords, Camp David under Clinton in 2000 and Ehud Barak’s magnanimous offer in 2001. All these negotiations had one purpose; to give the Palestinians a state, therefore to write a book which vilifies and presents Israel as the stumbling block, is about as senseless as trying to plant a peanut crop in the Artic circle.


Maybe Jimmy Carter could have better used his time to write a book on growing peanuts, or better still he could have written his vile little book on a peanut, because his knowledge, or lack of, could indeed have been written on one.


Angela Bertz – Israel






























Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article. A. G. S.