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Tropical Garden Grow Guide

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Plant of the month September 2023

Lentil Sprouts

Submitted by Mary Loan

Photo Credit Mary Loan

Botanic Name
lens culinaris
Soil Type
Sandy, well-drained
Optimum pH
7-10 Days
80-110 Days
Low Moisture
Grow Guide Index

Not everyone has a secure access to a garden plot close to their home.  This month features lentil sprouts, which can easily be grown in your kitchen in two to three days; no soil and no green thumb required.   Lentil sprouts are delicious and very nutritious and can be enjoyed as a snack, salad item, sandwich topper, soup or stir-fry ingredient.


How to sprout lentils in the tropics  (½ cup dried lentils will sprout to approximately 3 cups of sprouts)


Start with a clean glass jar.  Add ½ cup well-rinsed lentils.  The brown supermarket variety works fine. Add water to cover the lentils by at least 3 inches. Place the jar in a shady secure location with a layer of gauze or cheesecloth or a mesh sprouting lid on top for 8-12 hours, Drain the soaking water and rinse the lentils until the water runs clear; then place the gauze, cheesecloth or sprouting lid on top and shake out as much water as you can.  Place the jar on its side in a shady secure location.

If the temperature in this location exceeds 95 degrees F, place the sprouting jar in your refrigerator for an hour or two, then return the jar to the shady location.  By the next day the lentils should show signs of sprouting.  Give them a good rinse and then drain the sprouts well and place the jar back in the shady location.  By the next day they should be growing little sprouts.  When the sprouts are about ¼ – ½ inches long they are ready to 'harvest' and use.  Store the jar in the refrigerator where the sprouts should last for about one week. 


Nutritional value


One cup of sprouted lentils contains about 82 calories and close to:

7 grams protein

19 mg calcium

35 mg vitamin A

13 mg vitamin C

plus iron, phosphorous, potassium and fiber


Here is a delicious recipe adapted from “Healthful Cuisine' by authors Anna Maria Clement and Chef Kelly Serbonich from the Hippocrates Health Institute


Curried Lentil Soup

Combine and set aside:

  • 1 cup sprouted lentils
  • ¼ cup scallions or chives
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

Soup base:

  • 1 cup sprouted lentils
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • About 6 drops of stevia or 2 teaspoons honey
  • A few drops of hot sauce to taste


Combine the above ingredients in a blender. Blend well

and season to taste.


Combine, then stir in the sprouted lentils, scallions or chives and

cilantro with the soup base.  Allow to stand at room temperature

for at least 30 minutes before serving at room temperature, or gently heat for a few minutes, then serve.


If you are ambitious and want to grow your own lentils.  It can be done in Belize, although lentils grow better in a cooler climate.


Here are the basics:


Lentils, (lens culinaris), originated in India and are now enjoyed in their many varieties world-wide.


They grow best in sandy well-drained soil with an optimum pH of 7.0.  Seeds can be sown in rows and germinate in approximately 7-10 days.  Lentils are susceptible to many diseases, especially fungal and viral diseases. They do not do well in wet humid conditions and are better able to survive in drought and low irrigation conditions.  Those that survive are ready for harvest in 80-110 days.

There are varying reports about ease and benefits of growing lentils in tropical conditions.


The ordinary supermarket variety of lentils are said to be easy to grow in Belize.  There is some work involved to hull and dry the lentils post harvest.  They may prove to be a good addition to your tropical backyard garden and provide fresh lentils to cook or enjoy raw as well as providing dried lentils to sprout.