Harvesting Lentils in a Garden at Home

Harvesting Lentils in a Garden at Home

If you’ve tried all the delicious ways to prepare lentils, you’ve probably thought about cultivating this pulse or grain legume crop in your backyard garden. Early spring is an excellent time to plant lentil seeds since they can withstand frost. Although it’s not too difficult to raise this crop, it can be challenging to know how and when to harvest lentils.

When is the harvest season for lentils?

For the most part, lentil cultivars mature about 80 to 110 days. Following flowering, a short pod will form. There will be one or two lens-shaped seeds in each pod. Depending on the kind, lentil seeds can be orange, yellow, green, brown, or black. Home gardeners will probably observe their lentil plants drooping toward the earth as they mature. Be not alarmed. Even among commercial farmers, lentils’ infamously thin stems are prevalent.

In addition, lentil pods develop and dry first at the base of the plant. Lentils are lost due to seedpod cracking if you wait until the top pods of the plant are dry. When the plants start to turn yellow and the pods in the lower third of the plant start to brown, it is the ideal time to harvest lentils. Shake the plant, to be specific. It’s time to reap if the seeds start to rattle.

How to Choose Legumes

Home gardeners are encouraged to keep a close eye on their plants as the lentil crop approaches its maturity date. The time between the pods turning brown and the seeds breaking may only be a few days under perfect growing conditions.

Home gardeners can pick lentils by hand as each pod gets brown as a harvesting technique. The pods can completely dry on a tray, or a sheet spread out in a sunny, windless area. Breaking the pods open will allow the lentil seeds to be extracted.

When the bottom pods turn yellow, an alternative technique is to cut or take the entire plant out of the ground. This enables uniform drying of all the pods. Until they are scorched, the plants can be set on a sheet, hung upside down from a drying rack, or hung in a sunny, windless area.

Best When Dry

The best time to harvest lentils is when it’s dry outside. Home gardeners can also dry lentil plants indoors or in a garage if it is damp or humid outside. Removing the pods and placing them in a food dehydrator set at 110 degrees F. (43 C.) is another option for drying lentils.

When the plants are dehydrated, you can shake them in a bag or crush them in a pillowcase to release the lentil seeds. Pour the crushed plants gradually from container to container before a fan to separate the grain from the chaff. As the trash blows away, the heavier seeds will fall to the bottom of the containers.