ingredients magazine
grow lentils
next page
jessica belnap
how to grow lentils

For a gardener, the winter is prime time to start planning for spring planting. Even novice gardeners will find the lentil well suited to our desert spring and summer climates. Lentils love full sun, low humidity and cooler temperatures. Here in Utah, we have all of the above! Nutritious, delicious and long-lasting (up to five years if harvested and stored properly), lentils are a very smart addition to any and every garden.

Like other legumes, lentils leech nitrogen into the soil as they grow in a form that makes it easy for other plants to utilize. So, lentils should not be grown where other beans or pulses were grown previously. Instead, they should be paired up with nitrogen-loving plants like squash, cucumbers, and herbs. Avoid planting lentils close to anything in the Allium family, though. Potatoes like lentils, too! Get the most of your garden by planting the right kinds of food crops together.

Seeds should be planted an inch apart, then thinned to at least five inches between plants. Allow for more space between plants or provide trellis support for vertical growth.
lentils gardening

For the best chance of germination, plant lentil seeds ½ to 1 inch deep in soil that will remain at a temperature of at least 68 degrees for up to a week. Cover to protect young plants from late spring frost, if necessary.

As members of the legume family, lentils produce individual, lens-shaped seeds in pods. Lentils usually grow two per pod and are available in a range of colors.  

Pods can be harvested at different times for different culinary applications; ripe seeds can be harvested early in the season to be used like peas. Lentils that are to be stored should be left on the vine until the pod has dried completely.

grow lentils diy
drip irrigation
next page

Though lentils are a hearty cold-weather plant that can survive drought conditions, a consistent supply of water will yield better results at harvest. Drip irrigation keeps the soil steadily moist. The soil’s pH level will also have a marked effect on the finished product, so monitor it carefully.

ingredients magazine slc