How to Grow Lentil Plants

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Lentil Plants: Care and Growing Guide

Lentil is an annual legume divided into subspecies: the cultivated variety (Lens culinaris), which we will talk about in this guide, as well as its wild relative (Lens Orientalis). This member of the legume family (Fabaceae) is related to beans. Lentils offer high nutrition through B vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Lentils are easy to grow and very hardy. The plants grow on branched vines with an average height of 30-60 centimeters. This slender, semi-upright plant can be grown on a single stem or grown freely on a branching bush.

White, light purple, or light blue flowers begin to bloom on the lower branches and work their way up to the plant until harvest. The flowers are pollinated before opening. About three days after flowering, the flowers wilt and produce seed pods three to four days later. These cool-season legumes should be planted in the spring and can be harvested around 80 days after planting.

Each smooth, smooth pod is half an inch long and contains one or two seeds. The coat is generally light, green, tan, brown, or black; some cultivars have purple, black, or mottled spots.

Botanical Name​Lens culinaris
Common NamesLentil plant,Β Adas, Mercimek, Messer, heramame, masoor
Plant TypeAnnual crop
Mature Size12 to 20 inches tall (18 to 24 inches between rows)
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeWell-drained, fertile, sandy loam
Soil pH6.0-6.5 (up to 8.0)
Bloom TimeSpring
Flower ColorWhite, pale blue, light purple
Hardiness Zones5-11, USDA
Native AreaEgypt, Greece, and Rome
ToxicityNon-toxic

How to Plant Lentils

Good plants that accompany lentils are cucumbers and savory. Do not plant where other legumes have grown in recent years, or with onion or garlic.

Native to Egypt, Greece, and Rome, Lens culinaris has likely been cultivated for more than 8,500 years. Over time, this culture reached the Mediterranean, Asia, and then the Western Hemisphere. Since the 1930s, lentil plants alternate with wheat.

Give the growing plants a small trellis, or if no support is added, be sure to space the plants 5 inches apart so air can circulate between them. Lentils do not compete well with weeds.

Lentil Plant Care

Light

Select a location that receives the sun, preferably facing south or east, where the sun is warmer and allows small seedlings to grow quickly.

Soil

In general, lentils adapt to all types of soil, but good drainage is the key. The plants prefer clay soils, well-drained and fertile. The best is a pH of 6.0 and 6.5 (although plants grow in soil with a pH of up to 8.0).

Avoid saline, boron, or sodium soils, which can limit root growth and the plant's ability to receive moisture.

Water

At the time of sowing, water well without flooding. Give the plants about 1 inch of water per week. At least 25 centimeters of annual rainfall is required.

If the weather is particularly dry, be aware that lentils are drought tolerant and can even die if the soil is soggy. Stop watering when the fruit begins to dry out.

Temperature and humidity

Lentil plants thrive in areas where the climate is somewhat cold and where there is limited rainfall, such as eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Canada, among other places in North America.

Ideal temperatures are between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity should be at the bottom; ideally 30 to 40 percent.

Fertilizer

If your soil is naturally uneven, add compost to loosen it in the fall, before planting in the spring, as direct contact with fertilizer can shake the seeds.

Instead, inoculate the seeds with Rhizobium leguminosarum. This will give the plants the added nitrogen they need for optimal growth and health.

Next, dig a long trench next to each row of young plants when they are about 12 inches tall. Pour in the tea compost and repeat when the plants begin to flower.

Are Lentil Plants Toxic?

Lentil plants grown in arsenic-contaminated soil can be toxic to humans, animals, and other plants. They absorb arsenic from the soil more easily than many other plant species.

Long-term exposure, even in low concentrations, can cause skin, bladder, lung, and prostate cancer.

Arsenic is a natural element, but some soils may have higher levels of this chemical than others. Elevated arsenic levels can be due to a variety of factors, including excessive use of pesticides, mining processes, and tanning operations. If you are concerned, it is possible to verify the levels through a soil test.

Harvesting Lentils

Pick green fruits within 70 to 80 days after planting to eat as beans. When lentils are used as a dry grain, the seed is called a legume. In late July and early August, harvest the lentils when the bottom pods are brown.

Hit the seed with a hammer and if it breaks, it is ready to be harvested. If you squeeze, let it dry longer on the plant. In case of premature frosts, remove the entire plant and hang it upside down in a warm place to dry.

Do this as long as the outside temperatures are not extremely hot or dry.

There are two ways to separate the fruits from the seeds:

  1. Place the fruits in a pillowcase. Buckle up and go for a run. (Yes, run!) Pour the seed mix from basket to basket in front of a fan that is on medium heat. Store seeds at zero degrees Fahrenheit or colder for five or more days; this will kill any weevils that are still inside.
  2. Dry in an air dryer heated to no more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This will reduce the risk of tegument cracking.

How to Grow Lentil Plants From Seed

Work and sweep the soil well and remove stones and weeds to ensure that the seeds have the right conditions to germinate.

Sow the seeds between the end of April and the beginning of May, three weeks before the date of the last frost. Young plants can tolerate light frosts. If sown later, the plants are likely to be shorter and the fruits will ripen later and less prolifically.

Plant the seeds 1 to 2 inches deep. One inch spacing between seeds and 18-24 inches between rows. The seeds will germinate in about ten days and the plants will mature in 80-119 days.

Winter tolerant varieties should be planted in late summer or early fall.

Common Pests/Diseases

Since lentils thrive in low humidity conditions, they generally don't attract many diseases. Occasionally rust, white mold, or root rot can occur as a symptom of rotating lentils with improper harvests.

Besides wheat, corn is another good crop rotation option. Rotate every three to four years. Avoid lima beans, lima beans, peas, mustard, canola, canola, soybeans, sunflower, sugar beets, and potatoes because they are susceptible to some of the same diseases.

Parasites are also minimal. It is very rare for lentils to attract Lygus insects, aphids, worms, worms, and thrips. If you find them, just tap on the hose or pinch.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About A Must Grow Plant for Anyone with the Goal of A Self Sufficient Food Supply

Source: MIgardener

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