Lentil honey plant in our country is important only as a plant that provides bee colonies with a supporting bribe. It has no particular effect on the amount of marketable honey and, accordingly, income from the apiary.
The content of the article
- 1 Distribution
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Significance in agriculture
- 4 Agrotechnics
- 5 Honey productivity
- 6 Useful Properties
This ancient plant, originally from the Mediterranean in Russia, is not cultivated in vast agricultural areas, although in terms of its nutritional qualities it is considered the best of the representatives of the legume family (for example, the same beans or peas).
The main reason why the culture is considered unpromising is low productivity in temperate climates. The plant at the beginning of the growing season is demanding on the length of daylight hours. For good development, he needs 8-9 light hours a day.
Unlike peas, the crop is more sensitive to frost, but at the same time it perfectly tolerates dry periods.
We are talking here about a cultivated variety of lentils, known in agriculture as ordinary or edible. It is it that is cultivated on vast areas in Iran, Turkey, India, Nepal and Canada. In Europe, the crop is grown only on small agricultural land.
A wild variety of honey plants occurs naturally in southern Europe, as well as in Central Asia, the Mediterranean and the Caucasus.
The edible variety of lentils is a grass with an erect, branched stem, abundantly covered with fluff. Height from 15 to 75 centimeters. Small leaves are planted on a short petiole, placed on it in pairs, and end with tendrils.
The flowers are small enough, white, purple or pink, grouped in drooping tassels. Blossom in June-July, depending on the region. Over time, in place of the flowers, diamond-shaped beans are formed, containing 2-3 seeds each.
Significance in agriculture
The plant is cultivated as a fodder and food crop. Lentil stew was mentioned in the Bible. The builders of the ancient Egyptian pyramids also ate the seeds of this herb. From the Mediterranean region, the culture spread to many countries, where it was highly valued by culinary experts for its high nutritional value. Its protein compounds have a good amino acid composition and are easily absorbed by the human body.
The flour made from beans is specially added to bread to increase its protein value. In general, grains are used for soups. Puree is used for filling pies, as well as cereals and side dishes.
Small-seeded varieties are grown specifically for forage purposes. Such feeding is useful for cattle and small ruminants.
It is noteworthy that the interest in this legume plant among Russian farmers is gradually increasing. Breeding work is underway with lentil varieties. Perhaps the importance of lentils as a honey plant will only increase over time.
Until the time of flowering, the culture develops slowly, which requires special attention to the care of lentil crops – they need to be watered regularly and all weeds in the field are destroyed.
The soil for crops is selected with average fertility indicators: loose and breathable. Avoid acidic, heavy chernozem, highly humid and alkaline areas.
Acidic soils are preliminarily lime! They monitor the introduction of manure – lentils are sown only after 2-3 years, since an excess of nitrogen affects it destructively.
It is recommended to fertilize the field or plot prepared for sowing in the fall and dig it up well (for each square meter, 40 g of phosphorus and 30 g of potash fertilizers are applied).
The seeds are soaked in the spring, placing them in a single layer between wet pieces of cloth, until the very moment they hatch, which speeds up the growing season. The row spacing is 10-15 cm, the distance in the row is 8 cm, the embedding is carried out to a depth of 6 cm.
The first flowers bloom 40-45 days after spring sowing. And you can sow lentils already at a soil temperature of +3 degrees. As soon as the soil warms up to +10, friendly shoots will appear within a week. They can withstand short-term frosts (not lower than -5 degrees!).
The plant is ideal for arid regions. During flowering and seed setting, it perfectly tolerates high air temperatures and the absence of rain.
Lentil crops contribute to the enrichment of the soil with nitrogen (this is a green manure plant).
Unfortunately, not a single beekeeping manual or thematic forum gives an intelligible answer as to what kind of honey productivity a lentil has. This is probably a consequence of the low popularity and prevalence of culture in our climate.
Any legume plant is undoubtedly a honey plant, but its nectar productivity will be low, since these crops need little pollination (bees visit their flowers less often than other plants).
Therefore, lentils are honey plants, which only provide support for bee colonies before the beginning of flowering of the main honey plants in a particular region.
In folk medicine, the plant is known as:
- an agent that fights stomach diseases;
- an herb that eliminates nervous disorders.
It is obvious that the ingress of lentil nectar into marketable honey pumped out in summer, even in small quantities, only increases the nutritional and medicinal value of this product. But for obvious reasons, one cannot count on good bribes exclusively from this culture.