I love lentils--they are so versatile and good for you! Can anyone offer advice on growing lentils? How large should the planting space be? Are they relatively hardy in most climates? Are any varieties easier to grow and harvest? Thanks in advance! Beth
Thanks farmerdill for the links and mariannebags for the vote of confidence. Seems as if lentils are not difficult to grow--much like pole beans. But...actually finding lentil seeds IS difficult. Best way to get seeds in the US is as lentil sprouts. I will keep investigating and let you know what I find. Thanks again! Happy 2010! Beth
Farmerdill--I wondered if I could just go buy dry lentils and plant them...but being the total newbie at veggie growing that I am, I didn't know if that would work. I also wonder if the lentils that are available as "sprouting" lentils would work in the veggie garden. Seems like they would. :) Here's my plan: going to buy some dry lentils at the grocery and plant a few in planting trays (cheap and easy). If they sprout and seem strong and healthy, then I will know I can use that method later in the winter for spring planting.
plantRN - sounds like a good plan. Let us know if it works, because I was wondering the same thing. I buy dried organic black beans from the supermarket when I run out of my own. It would be great if I could grow from them.
As a child I grew peas from dried ones my mother purchased in the store. I remember having to soak them first.
I think it will work! My grandpa always went to the local co-op and bought dried beans for his green bean crop every year. I'm gonna give it a try, anyway! :) I have nothing to lose but the cost of a bag of lentils--it they don't work, I'll just cook 'em up and eat 'em!
They definitely will sprout. I put some lentils in a sprouting jar 3 days ago and some of them are beginning to sprout. I don't expect that I'll get a high germination rate because these seeds are of unknown age. I think they are at least 5 years old.
As a vegetarian and very protective of my bodily temple, I eat copious amounts of cooked and raw sprouted lentils. My Sicilian grandma made the BEST! I am in perpetual homage to her since I eat lentils every day. Oh yea, there was a point to all this... As a vegetarian, I find many viable varieties of lentils from my sprout-suppliers. They come in many colors, The black ones, and the French blues are best IMO!
Try these suppliers:
As with any Leguminaceae, you will want to inoculate the seed with a mycorhizobium inoculant, to ensure plant vigor and reliable crop. You may just do well without it. Somebody stop me if I'm wrong. The inoculant is normally $4 for a quantity to inoculate a few pounds of seed.
Hello, I'm new and will introduce myself properly later but wanted to let you know that I rinsed some dried lentils three times a day for two days and they began to sprout. I used most of them in a recipe but decided to put one sprouted lentil in a pot with potting mix and that was a week ago. It's now a little plant and it's 2" :-)
Oh my! Bibi--that is fantastic! I'll admit it...I've not tried sprouting mine yet. I'm still trying to get my tomato seeds planted. But you have inspired me--gonna soak some of those lentils I bought weeks ago! Thanks for posting your success! keep us updated!
Last spring (2009) I just grabbed some green/brown lentils from a bulk bin at Fred Meyer and stuck them in a 3 gallon black nursery pot (4 of them) and all sprouted and grew very easily. They are like a hardy bushy small leaved pea plant. Well, they are like a stringy bush and may not support themselves. As I planted 4 in one pot about 2 inches apart in a square pattern, the 4 bushes intertwined and supported each other. I ate some green off the plants and they were yummy. I let the bulk stay on until the plants browned and died, then harvested the dry little pods (each with 1 to 3 lentil peas/beans) inside. After harvesting and though they were "dry" there was enough moisture that some started meldewing. So, I put those spread on a cookie sheet and placed then in a 300F oven for 5 or so minutes to kill the mildew and further dry them (note, these were all still in their little pods/shells). So, just a couple of days ago and grabbed these oven dried previously mildewed pods and wanted to test to see if they were viable and would sprout, since I did oven drying (for the first time ever). And out of the 5 I planted indoors, 4 have now sprouted.
P.S.: I also grew yellow chickpeas (garbanzo beans) last year, which I also got from the Fred Meyer bulk bins. Both of these beans/peas (legumes/pulses) are fantastic for home gardens and are way under grown by us American gardeners! AND, fresh chickpeas are YUMMY. The other thing nice about lentils and chickpeas are the same as beans and peas, let them dry and they keep well for future use and have good protein and many other nutrient content!
Oh, by the way. I prefer heirloom seeds and definitely do not want GMO seeds. But I have yet to hear of GMO lentils or chickpeas, so I am hoping my bulk lentils and chickpeas from the groceries are okay. I won't touch any corn product from a grocery (possibly from a natural food store) to plant at home. :-)
I have a feeling anyone on eBay selling "heirloom" lentils are buying lentils from the grocery and repackaging into small seed envelopes and making a big profit. LOL
I'm so glad to read that others like lentils as much as I do. I've already purchased Soy bean and Black bean seeds for this summer's garden. I bet I could find a little space for some black lentils, too.
So glad I ran across this thread! I love lentils! I have some orange ones from a dry bin at the grocery store and wold love to try and grow them. How do you "sprout" them? just soak them in water? and then put in small pot with soil? Thanks!