Lentils are an ancient Mediterranean crop that have been cultivated for thousands of years. Highly nutritious, lentils are grown as an annual crop during cool seasons and in areas where there is limited rainfall. Lentils are better suited to damper, cooler climates, such as the Mediterranean, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific Northwest.
How to Grow Lentils In Your Garden
Lentils like well drained soil and South or East exposures. Good drainage is very important for lentils, as even short periods of flooding can kill the plants.
- Sow lentil seeds in spring, about 2-3 weeks before the last average frost date.
- You can also start seeds indoors, and the lentil seedlings should sprout within 10 days.
- It will take about 80 to 110 days for lentils to come to harvest.
- Plant each lentil seed about 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep, space about 1 inch apart.
- Once they grow to seedlings, thin them to 4-5 inches apart.
- Space rows 18-25 inches apart.
Caring for Lentil Plants:
- Keep the soil moist and do not water lentil plants once pods have begun to dry.
- Before sowing, add aged compost to planting beds.
- If needed, support your lentil plants with a trellis.
- Lentil plants can also be grown in containers.
- For dried seeds, harvest lentil pods when they have matured and hardened.
- If you’re harvesting them while green, do so after 70-80 days (they will look like snap peas).
So now that you know how to grow lentils, it’s time to start planting!