Growing Lentils

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Jenny, Nov 8, 2018 at 10:41 PM.

  1. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I am thinking of planting some lentil seeds this coming weekend, from shop bought lentils. I think it will be cool to grow my own lentils. Will shop bought dried lentils germinate?

    I have never grown lentils before, so any tips or advice from anyone who has grown it before, will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I'm wondering do you understand where lentils come from?

    One way to grow a fruiting crop that can be used as lentils is to grow pigeon peas.
    They can be harvested green from the full green pods which are called ganjules in the Carribbean and cooked in with rice.
    Of left to fully ripen and dry off in the pod either on the tree or picked once fully developed and hung up to dry in a hesian bag, then depodded and stored in jars.
    Once completely dry they will keep for years. They don't require as much cooking or presoaking as lentils but have a similar nutrition.
    Pigeon peas come in a few colours- green like normal peas when still young and alive; brown, yellow or red once dead and dried.
    However I haven't had any luck forecasting which trees will produce which colour pea other than when picking green.

    The commercial lentils you buy are from a bush that acts like a vine rather like mung beans. They are left to die to become dried, then havested. They are usually grown through winter in areas with sandy soil that recieve winter rain rather like desert regions.
    You wont get a lentil to grow from shop bought lentils if they have been broken in half. They need to be still whole which will be difficult to find in a pack from the shop. Best to sprout them indoors then plant out before winter comes so the plant gets used to living in soil before the cold hits.

    Pigeon pea trees are far easier to grow being around 2-4m tall, live for 2-3 yrs at best and attract every seed eating bird in the district. Generally you replant every year as the production drops dramatically for the second crop a tree produces. Young trees are heavy producers. The older trees make excellent compost especially if you get the roots where the nitrogen nodules are. But remember not to break up the roots or air dry them as the decaying nodule gasses off its niteogen which is then lost in the air rather than being trapped in the soil. This compost needs to be kept a bit moist all through the process or the niteogen is lost.

    If you have a farmer in you region who crops lentils you can go to the farm and get fully developed and only slghtly brown pods straight off the vines to plant. Better than never finding whole beans in a commercial lentil pack from the shop.

    Here is a link to a good site where you will find lots of info about many plants all heirloom and organic. Also this site should be accessible all over the world and not be geo-locked.

    http://www.heirloom-organics.com/guide/va/guidetogrowinglentils.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 9:44 AM
  3. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thank you for all the information and the link, much appreciated. I was planning to buy dry whole lentils (not split ones), as they do sell those in the supermarkets here as well, and it can be bought locally online as well. However, I did not realize that it is a winter crop, so will now have to wait for next year before I can experiment with that.

    I quite like your suggestion of growing pigeon peas, especially the fact that it grows tall, can live for more than a year and that it produces well. I have never grown it before, but going to give it a try. I found a local online store now that sells sprouting seed, so I'm going to order some. I read that the best time for me to plant it, is between Oct - Dec, so I at least still have some time to get some plants in the ground. :)
     
  4. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yes any time is a good time for pigeon pea!
    Something about the tree is you can grow another vine up it.
    Something fairly lightweight as PP is a bit brittle but can tolerate some weight on it.
    So perhaps a cucumber or similar.
    PP sends down a decent tap root given the opportunity, so when you sprout your seed put them into a tall seedling tree punnet.
     
  5. Jenny

    Jenny Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thank you, definitely gonna try my hand at growing some.
     
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