Learn how to grow lentils, growing lentils involves some specific care and requirements given in this article.
USDA Zones — 5 – 11
Propagation Method — Seeds, vegetative propagation
Difficulty — Easy
Soil pH — 6 – 6.5
Other names — Lentil, Adas, Mercimek, Messer, heramame, masoor
Where do Lentils Grow
Lentil (Lens culinaris) – A relative of beans, it is an annual legume that is self-pollinating. It is used and cultivated from ancient times and was already well known in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Now it is cultivated mainly in the Canada, India, Turkey, USA, Australia and Egypt.
Propagation and Planting Lentils
Lentils is a long day plant. It is planted at a similar time as peas and oats and it is worth remembering that the delay affects the productivity.
Lentils usually germinates after 6 – 12 days of seed sowing. The optimum temperature for seed germination is 68 °F. Sow the seeds to a depth of 4 – 6 cm, 6 – 8 cm in rows and leave space of 15 – 30 cm between each row.
If you are growing lentils, you should know lentils like moderately cool temperature but they are not frost tolerant. They do well in temperate climates with low humidity. Lentils grow in cold and temperate climate during the summer and over the winter in tropics and subtropics.
Choose a spot in the garden that receives full sun. Do not plant lentils where other legumes were recently grown or with onions and garlic. Lentils do well with cucumbers, potatoes and summer savory.
Grow lentils in full sun for healthy plants and better yield.
Keep lentils consistently moist. Although, lentils are more drought tolerant than other beans.
Do not water lentils once pods begin to dry.
Lentils can be grown in variety of soil types but avoid heavy and waterlogged soil. Light and well drained soil that remains moderately moist with a pH level of 6 – 6.5 is suitable for growing lentils.
Fertilization of lentils depends on soil fertility. Fertilizer should be applied in early spring at a dose of 30 – 50 kg of phosphorus per hectare and for potassium 50 – 70 kg per hectare. If the soil has a low content of organic substances, apply nitrogen fertilizer in an amount of 20 – 30 kg per hectare. The soil should be well limed too, because lentils do not grow in acidic soils.
Temperature for Growing Lentils
It tolerates short-term frosts at the beginning of vegetation, even to -6 deg. C (21.2 F), but has considerable heat requirements at the time of formation of pods and seed maturation, which is around 20 C (70 F).
Pests and Diseases
The most dangerous disease, especially during the dry and hot weather is seedling blight, which is caused by Fusarium sp. (Yellowing of leaves, drying of whole plants). To avoid this, it is important to make a choice of healthy seeds and variety.
Bean rust (rust stains, drooping leaves) can be avoided by using crop rotation involving legumes, using healthy organic materials and early sowing.
Among the pests that are detrimental to it are Sitona lineatus and pea aphids, they can be controlled using the same preparations you use for the crops of peas and beans.
Collect lentils when the lower pods are brown and seeds are hard, which generally takes place in late July and early August.
Lentils are high in protein and can successfully replace meat in the vegetarians meal. They are also recommended for people who need protein rich diet. In addition, lentils are filled with valuable nutrients such as calcium, iron, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A and vitamin B.
In the food industry lentils are used for the production of soup and purees. Lentils are also used for cooking curries, salads or casseroles. Lentils flour is made to prepare bread in many Asian countries.