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Growing lentils?

(Beth) L'ville, GA(Zone 7b)

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

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

PlantRN, Lentils are one thing I have never tried to grow, so I do not know much about them except that they are drought tolerant and like cool weather like English peas. There are a lot of how to articles on the internet. In North America most is grown in the drier areas of the high plains. (Wheat production areas) http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/lentil.html. Here are some of the How to artcles http://www.ehow.com/how_2059820_grow-lentils.html http://www.harvestwizard.com/2009/07/how_to_grow_lentil.html http://msuextension.org/publications/AgandNaturalResources/MT199615AG.pdf http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/pulsecrops/bhf01s01.html http://www.heirloom-organics.com/guide/va/guidetogrowinglentils.html http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/lentil.html

sydney (menai), Australia

it seems they are pretty much like bean but maybe need less water. It might be that they are very easy to grow just not the traditional vegie ; good luck with it and let us know how you go

(Beth) L'ville, GA(Zone 7b)

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

sydney (menai), Australia

maybe try ebay ?

(Beth) L'ville, GA(Zone 7b)

marianne! Great idea! I found one seller with HEIRLOOM lentil beans/seeds! This seller has several heirloom bean varieties--pretty interesting. I will let you know how my lentil experiment works out!

sydney (menai), Australia

I'm glad to be of help.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

The grocery stores here sell lentils, both the grey and red in the dry beans/peas section. Cheap way to see if they will work. I get all my Blackeye peas that way.

(Beth) L'ville, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

I bet it will work! Keep us posted. When you buy bean seeds and such they are just dried beans - lol.

(Beth) L'ville, GA(Zone 7b)

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!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I think it will work, too - unless the lentils/beans are old or have been heated - then they might not.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

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.

New Port Richey, FL(Zone 9b)

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:
www.gourmetseed.com
www.wheatgrasskits.com

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.

Liberty, PA(Zone 5a)

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" :-)

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Cool!

Welcom, Bibi!

(Beth) L'ville, GA(Zone 7b)

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!

Monroe, WA(Zone 8a)

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!

Monroe, WA(Zone 8a)

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. :-)

P.S.:
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

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Lol I wish I had thought of that. You wantna buy some lentils. I need to go to Wally World to night :-)

Prescott, AZ(Zone 7a)

Great thread! Thanks to all. I love lentils and I live where summers can be coolish and dryish. Also I had been wondering how to plant them and where to get seeds.

I hope this thread gets bumped next winter when I'm buying next years' seeds. Right now I have more than I can fit in the garden.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

You Lentil fans may enjoy this http://www.growingproduce.com/news/avg/?storyid=3512

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

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.

rio rancho, NM(Zone 7a)

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!

Monroe, WA(Zone 8a)

You can pre-soak then plant or just plant the hard bean.

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