It is propagated from seeds, which are either sown in the proportion of from one bushel and a half to two bushels broad-cast, or are drilled in rows one foot and a half a part, in order that the intermediate soil may be properly cleaned with the Dutch hoe. Sometimes, however, this vegetable is put in the ground together with oats or barley, at the rate of one bushel of the latter to two bushels of the former.
The lentil is an, annual plant, growing to the height of about 18 inches, and producing pale purple flowers, which are succeeded by small flat pods, containing two or three round seeds. These are frequently used in soups, the flavour of which is thus much improved : the plant itself affords an excellent fodder for cattle.—When, however, lentils grow among oats or barley, they should be cut- while in full sap ; for, if well dried and preserved, they afford an inviting food, though of a heating and flatulent nature.—Nor is the fruit itself more wholesome to mankind ; and Becu stein observes, that it is hurtful, nay, sometimes fatal to horses.
There is another kind of lentil cultivated in this country, under the name of French Lentil, or Tills. It is in every respect a plant twice as large as the preceding, and is supposed to be a distinct species. It is raised from seeds, which are sown in March, in a soil that bore corn in the preceding year, and has been once ploughed. Manure is not absolutely necessary, though it will greatly increase the crop; which is said to be very copious, and may be mown several times in one season.
The stalks and foliage of this kind of lentil, furnish an agreeable and wholesome food to horses, sheep, and particularly to cows : while they considerably increase the quantity, and improve the quality of their milk. Its long and numerous pods ripen late in autumn, and produce a new species of pulse, which may be dressed in the same manner as the common lentils : in a fresh state, they may also be used as an excellent ingredient in soup; and, when dry, they are eagerly eaten by poultry. The dried herb, likewise, furnishes a good winter fodder for cattle ; and, as this vegetable thrives on the poorest land, it deserves to be more generally cultivated.