March 27, 2012


Last summer I planted about a ten foot row of lentils. I had no idea what they would look like (no picture on the package!) and I was just curious to grow something different.

They grew well, although I should have put a string fence up early on to keep them from getting tangled and growing along the ground.

I wasn't sure when they would be ready for harvest. I left them to dry on the plant, but I kept waiting for the growing to stop before harvesting. I waited too long and ended up losing quite a lot in the garden as the dry pods shattered.

I've since learned that lentils are indeterminate - they'll keep growing and flowering as long as conditions are suitable. So while the bottom lentils were dry and ready to harvest, the top kept flowering. Next time, I won't be fooled by the top flowers!

I say next time, but I'm not really sure I"ll grow them again. It took an awful lot of work to separate the lentils from the dry bits. I tried the good old pouring from a height and letting the wind pick up the dry bits, but the lentils were too light and I would have lost too many. I didn't try sorting with water, because I didn't want to have to dry the lentils afterwards. I basically went through them by hand.

For all my hard work, I saved a small fraction of one bag of lentils from the grocery store. I love how growing your own puts things into perspective! (Although I'm sure lentil farmers are much more efficient than I was.)

Anybody have a growing-something-different story to share?

Whatever will I do with all my lentils*?

 *Du Puy French lentils from Greta's Organic Gardens


  1. Thanks for sharing your blog link. I look forward to reading more. FYI you will be "test growing" (i.e. just grow a small quantity for us) some Du Puy lentils too this summer at Our Little Farm with Jim. Our plan is to have an easier/less time-consuming threshing method in place. We'll see! - Gen

  2. Great! Can't wait to test grow for you guys and learn a few more things about growing the threshing them. :)

  3. A+ for effort!

    I tried growing a moustache for movember, but, alas, my double-X chromosomes proved to be infertile soil.

    Seriously, though, I've never actually grown anything in my life. Do you have any suggestions for...seedlings of progress? I'm thinking resilient plants that can be grown inside or in a pot on the porch.

  4. Hi Anonymous, wondering if I know you?
    What types of plants would you want to grow? Ornamental or edible? Indoors, some herbs and hot peppers can be fun. Sprouting (to use in sandwiches, salads etc) is another cool indoor trick. I don't grow my own edibles indoors, so I'm not well-versed on the best options, but I could point you to some good resources if you narrow down what you're interested in.