Alfalfa

Medicago sativa

Lucerne, Lusern (Afr.), Purple Medick

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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 perrenial cover crop.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

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.

Propagation

Seed

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!

Division

Divide the clumps and replant. Keep moist until settled in.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Crop rotation
Drought resistant

Special features

Origin

South-central Asia. First cultivated in Persia (Ancient Iran).

Natural climate

Warm to hot

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

culinary

The seeds are the popular Alfalfa, the green lusern excellent in green smoothies and juices as mineral boost.

medicinal

The high mineral content makes high nutrition value - it aids with digestion and absorbtion of other nutrients.

Soil conditioner

The Fabaceae(legume) family all add nutrient value to the soil, by fixing nutrients like Nitrogen in a more plant usuable format as ammonia.

Notes

Culinary, medicinal, soil conditioner

Personality

Family

Fabaceae

Flower colour

Mauve to purple

Scent

None

Problems

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.

Companion plants

Asparagus, sweetcorn
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Knowledge and advice

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