Lentils

Lens culinaris
Sow depth1 inch
Emergence5-8 days, just based on personal experience.
Temperature24 C. Cooler temperatures during early planthood lead to taller and hardier plants.
LightI'm going to go ahead and say full sun to partial shade is okay, just on the basis of cultivation practices I've read about (companion cropping with rice, wheat, or a variety of other plants that provide support and could shade them).
SoilPrefers clay soils, but thrives on all types.
pH6.0-8.0
Height6 inches to over 2 feet
PollinationSelf-pollination
Maturity80-135 days, who knows?
HarvestPods have about two seeds each. The pods readily shatter, so care should be taken when harvesting.
Culinary UseSoup (Daal, lentil soup), stew, casserole, side dish, salad, powdered for use as flour additive for baking, cereal, etc.
ProblemsPlants can withstand cool temperatures, but over 27 C is bad. Tolerant of drought, but excess water is problematic.

Another nitrogen-fixing legume. Supposed to be bushy and low-growing.

Indoor growing? Heck, try finding information about outdoor hobby gardening for your own backyard! With one to two lentils per pod, you have to collect between, say, 3,000 and 9,000 pods to get a pound of lentils, according to one estimate (scroll down to the seventh comment). I haven't found a reliable source of information regarding the number of pods a single plant is supposed to have, but that 1 lb comes from calculating acreage yield assuming 20 plants per square foot. So, that's anywhere from 150 to 450 pods per plant when grown agriculturally (read: pesticides, fertilized like crazy, and grown specifically for production). My lentils are organic, I assume, but I don't know what true variety they are, nor how much to expect on my plant. But, basically, I probably shouldn't budget for more than just enough for maybe a single bowl of soup.

Does one wonder why it isn't a more popular home garden plant? Actually, one does. From what I read, although it's a pain to harvest, it is pretty much perfect for backyard gardens with little space to waste. Lentils should be planted under taller, sturdier plants, so it's not like they are taking up any extra room; they fix nitrogen, making the soil better for the other plants; and they're super-nutritious. If only for the nitrogen fixation, I think they should be planted. Plus, who doesn't like to see Fabaceae plants in bloom?

Diseases here.

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One Response to Lentils

  1. I've just started on growing any drying bean, this year is Kidney beans. Always before it always seemed that so many were required to get anything at all. Sort of like peas. Let us know how it goes, yes?

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