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Protein; it’s a staple of a basic diet but many people share the common belief that it can only be obtained from meat-based foods and animal-derived products. On the contrary, beans and lentils are a rich source of protein and are considered to be an important part of the vegan diet. So, if you’re looking to grow some protein at home and don’t want to start a chicken farm right away, why not grow some lentils? These are annual crops that grow better when planted in cooler seasons. Here’s what you need to know before you can grow your lentil plants.

Obviously, a single plant won’t nearly be enough and you’ll need around 5 to 8 of them if you want almost a yearly’s supply for a single person. The number of plants you’ll need also depends on your intake and if you lean more towards plant-based nutrition, it’s likely you’ll need more of them.

You can grow lentils in your garden, or if you’ve run out of space in your backyard, you can grow them straight out of pots. As long as the pots are thoroughly cleaned before planting, and have a height of over 8 inches, you’re all set. To prepare, you’ll need to make sure whether they’re treated with an inoculant or not. If they are, then you can move on to the next steps. If they’re not, then spread your seeds over a wide tray and apply some leguminosarum inoculant on them. Wait a whole 24 hours until you plant them; this helps the seeds prepare to absorb nitrogen.

Add loose soil and compost to a pot, and check the pH. Lentils like to keep it basic, so a pH of around 6.5 is preferred. Add a supporting structure to each pot, such as a trellis. Remember that one pot is only supposed to hold a single plant. Plant a few seeds one inch under the soil and keep the soil watered adequately, but not too much. Waterlogged soil has the risk of killing lentil plants, so stay on the drier side and give them plenty of sunshine. Soon, in each pot, you’ll begin to see growths rising upwards. Then, cut off the weaker plants and keep the stronger ones. While doing so, be careful not to damage or disturb the stem or root of the plant you wants to keep.

You’ll need to train your plants to rise upwards i.e. up to the trellis. To do this, you can give a little help by tying a loose thread around the trellis and stem of the plant. Once the plants achieve a height of around 5 inches, remember to add some compost every now and then because lentils love nutrient-rich soil.

Harvest your yield after the plants turn yellow and ripen. You can use some garden shears or hand pruners to chop off the pods, or you can cut the entire plant from the stem. Be careful of aphids attacking your plants, so use some organic insecticide and cleaning up well after the plant.

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Conversation Starters

by Dee Dee

Ever get tired of the same old “How was your day?” question? The worst part is that it usually leads to an answer that’s about as tired as the question itself. Well, don’t worry you’re definitely not alone and I’ve just stumbled across the perfect, simple solution from The Dating Divas. They created these stacks and stacks of thought-provoking questions to draw out some much more stimulating and meaningful conversations.

These conversation starters have 250 prompts about intimacy, finances, quality time, romance, and family so if you make it through all of them, you’ll have hit all of the biggest ideas in marriage.

We decided on the ‘one a day’ approach and since the first time we’re really alone isn’t until we head to bed, we just have them divided up in our nightstands and we alternate nights. On my day, I’ll just choose a category and pull the top card from the deck. I read it aloud and then we chat about it. Sometimes it’s “easy” question and we share our thoughts for a few minutes but other times we actually have to stop and force ourselves to get to bed (we usually promise to think about it more and discuss over dinner the next day).

There have even been some questions on topics that we never would’ve thought to approach on our own. I think those are my favorites because afterwards we’re always so surprised we never talked about it before, and we usually have pretty similar thoughts on the matter too!

To keep everything organized and to make sure our cards aren’t spread throughout the nightstand (or even the entire house), it’s nice that they fit so perfectly in an Altoids tin. We keep all the cards in their little boxes, even the ones we’ve already discussed because you never know when your thoughts might change or something new might come to you. I’m a sucker for cute packaging, so I love the tins, but there are all kinds of ways to keep them organized – anything from a simple plastic baggie to a binder ring.

We’re pretty satisfied with our question a day routine but I do think it would be fun to use these conversation starters on a long road trip too. Having thoughtful conversation makes the drive seem a lot more purposeful and feel a lot less like a waste of time. We’re also lucky enough to see each other pretty much every night but I really think these would be fun to add to a nightly phone conversation if you’re in a long distance relationship!

So if you’re ready to open up those lines of communication the easy way and stop discussing only the basics of your spouse’s day, try some conversation starters today! I’m guessing you’ll be just as amazed as we were at the discussions these prompts encourage. Click here


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