The lens culunaris , is an annual herbaceous lentil plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. It has stems approximately 40 cm high, well branched and striated with elongated leaves, stipulated pointed, white flowers with purple veins, arranged on an axillary peduncle. They also have a fruit in pod with two or three seeds of brown color in the form of a wheel of 0.5cm in diameter.
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There are various types of lentils, smaller and larger, although the best known and consumed is the lentil pardina. Depending on the variety, the lentils can take several months to ripen, so you will have to take a look at the ripening date on the package of the lentil plant to make sure you have enough time for the growth period .
Lentils are nutritious, rich in protein, iron and fiber, so they are advised to fight anemia. Read on to know how to plant lentils in your home garden .
When and where to plant lentils?
The lentil plant can be sown two weeks before the end of the winter in cold climates and in the autumn in hot climates in a pot with loose, well drained soil, which has a pH between 5.5 to 9 and that has a phosphorus-rich organic matter .
Seeds can also be planted indoors in holes 1 to 2.5cm deep and 2.5cm apart between them and then transplanted outside once the seedlings are large enough to be handled. Seedlings will have to be planted 12cm away. The ideal temperature for the lentils to germinate is around 20 ° C. If possible, use covers so that the seedlings are protected from late frosts. These will require approximately 100 days to mature.
Lentils can tolerate cold temperatures, but will not withstand frost. Before planting lentils , choose a place in the garden where you can receive direct sun and avoid planting lentils where there are other legumes, onions or garlic.
Other lentil plant care
- Once the pods of the plant lentilsbegin to dry, stop watering.
- Lentils will require a trellis to support their vines, but if you don’t use it, you’ll need more space between each plant. A trellis will help you reduce pests and diseases.
- This plant does not tolerate weeds, so you will have to pay close attention to that.
- If the plants are in a rich and fertile soil you will not need fertilizer , but if you do not, I advise you to add some compost when they reach almost 13cm high and repeat this when they begin to bloom.
Lentils can be collected for use as dried legumes or peas . If you are going to use them as dried legumes you will have to wait 110 days of maturation and take the pods once they are well hardened. Remove the peel until you want to use them. If you are going to use legumes even when they are green as peas, you will have to harvest them after 70 days.
Pests and diseases of lentils
- Aphid: this insect is green and feeds on the sap of the lentil plant. If you want to fight the aphid, use potassium soap mixed with neem oil.
- Weevils: this pest causes holes in the grain. If you want to prevent it, you will simply have to apply insecticides when the pods begin to set.
- Fungi: there are several types of fungi that can attack the lentil plant . Use horsetail to prevent them.