Also known as
Lucerne, Purple Medick, Lusern (Afr.)
Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)
This plant has no fragrance
Known as the “Queen of Forages,” alfalfa is the oldest and one of the most palatable and nutritious cultivated or domesticated crops. It is rich in protein, very digestible and high in vitamins and minerals. Alfalfa also has a very high yield potential making it a excellent perennial cover crop.
Common problems with Alfalfa
Alfalfa has few pest problems; the alfalfa weevil can cause serious damage and reduce yields. In addition, a stem nematode can infest and weaken stem buds.
Alfalfa Companion Plants
How to harvest Alfalfa
Harvest regularly throughout spring, summer and autumn. Do not cut alfalfa if it looks like rain - the shoots get a fungus that makes it poisonous and unusuable.
How to propagate Alfalfa
Sowing time is best in summer. Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water. Germination time is quick, easily 3 - 7 days; which make it an excellent seed for sprouting!
Divide the clumps and replant. Keep moist until settled in.
Special features of Alfalfa
Doesn’t like wet conditions, too much moisture can lead to mold growth.
Attracts useful insects
Because of its large amount of nectar, it attracts many species of bees
Although a light feeder, it produces chemicals to prevent other crops in the same family from germinating, so it is recommended to rotate with corn or wheat before replanting.
Other uses of Alfalfa
Culinary, medicinal, soil conditioner
The seeds are the popular Alfalfa, the green lusern excellent in green smoothies and juices as mineral boost.
The high mineral content makes high nutrition value - it aids with digestion and absorbtion of other nutrients.
The Fabaceae(legume) family all add nutrient value to the soil, by fixing nutrients like Nitrogen in a more plant usable format. Dig back into the top 15 cm (6") of soil before the flowers develop and allow it to decompose and release these nutrients for two to four weeks before replanting with your next crop.
Empty spaces after crops have been harvested? - Sow these 'green manures' to protect bare beds over winter.Explore all