The lentil, scientific name Lens culinaris, is an annual legume widely consumed both in Asia and North Africa, as well as in some regions of Europe and Latin America. It is a fairly resistant plant, which stands out for its excellent nutritional properties. Lentils are rich in carbohydrates and vegetable proteins, in addition to containing a very low amount of fat, making them a complete and healthy food.
If you want to learn how to grow your own lentils at home, which will also help the soil to increase its nitrogen levels, keep reading in this EcologíaVerde article in which we will teach you when and how to plant lentils step by step.
When to plant lentils
The sowing time of the lentil depends on the type of climate of the area where you are going to sow. If you live in a warm climate with mild winters, you can plant in fallwhereas, if the climate in your area is colder, it is recommended to do it after frost.
Another option is to plant your lentils in indoor in seedbed or pot About two weeks before the last frosts, to transplant them to their final location outdoors once these are over.
How to plant lentils step by step
Given that this legume can be sown directly outdoors, we are going to see how to plant lentils step by step:
- Prepare the ground. Lentils need a soil rich in organic matter, so you should enrich it with organic fertilizer of some kind, such as compost, worm castings or bokashi. In addition, the plant requires that the land has good drainage and that the PH is between 5.5 and 9. In this other EcologíaVerde article you can learn more about How to prepare the land to plant vegetables.
- Prepare your lentil seeds by soaking them overnight before sowing, to facilitate germination. You can also make them germinate indoors between moistened cotton and transplant them later. Here you can see How to make lentil sprouts.
- Sow the seeds at a depth of about three times the size of the seed, leaving a space of about 15 cm between them. You can cover them with newspaper or some other type of cover to protect them until they germinate.
- Water after sowing, although always avoiding flooding the soil.
Once you have planted these legumes in your house, we recommend that you follow these tips on basic lentil care so that the plant gets ahead and you can enjoy them in your dishes.
The lentil is a plant that withstands a certain measure of cold, but does not tolerate frost. Always plant them at a time when they will not be subjected to temperatures around 0ºC. In fact, its optimum temperature is between 6º and 28º.
The plant requires a good dose of sun, so plant them in one of the sunniest areas of your garden or land.
Soil to grow lentils
We have already said that this legume needs a soil rich in organic matter, but it is worth emphasizing the importance that it also has good drainage. Lentils are very susceptible to rotting due to excess moisture, and although they require a slightly moist soil, waterlogging will be very detrimental.
As we have just pointed out, lentils appreciate a certain level of moisture in the soil. Despite this, they can withstand short-term droughts, so it is recommended to water when the soil begins to show signs of dryness. When the pods begin to dry out, it is advisable to space out the waterings or even stop them.
It is not necessary, but it is a good idea to provide the plant with a trellis or some other low structure that it can support itself on. Otherwise, the plant will spread out on the ground, needing more space and becoming more vulnerable to attack by pests and diseases.
This plant appreciates being in an area with air passage, in the same way that it is better to avoid plants being too close to each other. Due to its vulnerability to humidity, the lentil is prone to being attacked by fungi if spaces or closed areas are created in it where the air does not circulate properly.
When to harvest lentils and how to do it
Depending on the temperature, the climate and the specific species of lentil, you should be able to harvest your crop within a period of between 80 and 110 days after sowing.
Must be harvest when the plant begins to dry, at which point you must take it by cutting the stem and hang it upside down to dry completely, preferably in a paper or cloth bag. Once the plant is dry, shake it so that the seeds fall out, and you can use the dry remains of the plant to make organic fertilizer such as compost or humus. Here you can learn more about what organic fertilizer is, its types, benefits and how to do it.
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