Growing peanuts in paper towels is a great kids' project for school or home. The materials are inexpensive and the sprouting process is quick enough to keep even young peanut farmers interested. Families who enjoy gardening together can sprout the peanuts in the early spring and transplant them in the family garden when the soil is warm. Peanuts can also be grown indoors near a sunny window. The National Education Association suggests growing "presidential peanuts" by starting them on February 22, George Washington's birthday; transplanting them on May 29, John F. Kennedy's birthday; and harvesting them by October 1, Jimmy Carter's birthday.
Measure the height of your plastic cup. Cut a sheet of construction paper to that measurement.
Roll up the construction paper and place it inside the clear plastic cup. Allow it to expand to the sides of the cup.
Crumble two or three paper towels together and place them inside the construction paper.
Shell a peanut. Look for the seam on one side of the peanut and gently pry the halves apart with your thumbs. Be careful to leave the nuts intact.
Place the nuts between the cup and construction paper so you can see them.
Pour 1 or 2 tbsp. of water on the paper towel and allow the towels time to absorb all the water. Continue wetting the paper towel slowly so that it is saturated but not sopping wet.
Store the plastic cup in a dark place where you can check on it daily. Keep the paper towels moist. The peanuts should sprout in three to seven days. Continue watering the paper towels until the sprouts are large enough to transplant.
Transplant your peanut sprouts when they have reached approximately 3 inches tall. Fill a pot with garden soil and poke a 2-inch hole into the center with your finger. Carefully place the roots of the peanut sprout into the soil and cover them well. Press the seedling into the soil lightly so it is secure, and water the plant evenly.
Keep the peanut plant in a sunny window or outside if the weather is mild. Continue to water the plant regularly so it is evenly moist.
Harvest peanuts in about four months by digging up the plant. The peanuts will be growing under the soil like roots.