Alfalfa (Lucerne) is a very deep rooting green manure with vigorous roots that can draw up sub-surface minerals and break up soil pans. It is very good for drought-prone soils. It can overwinter once well established and will grow for a year or more.
Alfalfa Green Manure dislikes acid or wet soils but does well in dry conditions. It fixes nitrogen from the air in its root nodules and releases it once dug into the soil. It is a hardy annual that can be sown from April to July and can be grown for a few months or a year. If grown long term, Alfalfa should be cut down 2-3 times a year to encourage new growth, the cuttings can be composted or left on the soil surface as a mulch.
Alfalfa Green Manure adds lovely organic matter to the soil but it should be dug in whilst plants are fresh and green as older woody growth does not decompose as readily valuable nitrogen is lost trying to break down the tough stems. It is part of the legume family and should be treated as such for crop rotation purposes.
Sow before nitrogen hungry crops like brassicas. Alfalfa is grown around the world as a forage crop for animals, but it also has homoeopathic medicinal properties helping in the treatment of anaemia & diabetes. Alfalfa sprouting seeds are also used as a crunchy topping for salads but this green manure is not fit for human consumption.
Need Some Help On Green Manure?
Then we have 2 invaluable resources on our website that will provide the answers to all of your Green Manure questions:
1. A Beginners Guide that covers everything you ever wanted to know about Green Manure in 5 quick and simple steps - read it [HERE]
2. How To Choose Which Green Manure To Sow...a summary of all the Green Manures showing which soil types, plant families, and benefits that each Green Manure can bring to your veg patch or allotment - read it [HERE]
Alfalfa Green Manure Seed Information
|When to Sow:
||April, May, June, July.
2-3 months or up to 1 year for overwintering.
Grows to a height of c.80cm
|Ideal Soil Type:
||Dry, and drought-prone
|How to Sow:
||Prepare the soil by roughly digging it over and removing any weeds. Lightly tread the soil, and then sow the seeds by broadcast sowing (i.e. scattering evenly) for good coverage. Rows can be sown but are not as good for weed suppression. Rake the soil and water well. In dry periods you may need to water until the green manure is established.
||The green manure should be cut down before flowering when the stems are nice and soft as they decompose quicker, retain more beneficial nutrients and are easier to incorporate into the soil. They can be dug into the soil by turning over into the top 15cms or left on the top as a mulch, the worms will drag down the organic matter and help to aerate the soil.
||2.5 grams per square metre.
|Pack Weight / Area:
When to Sow Alfalfa Green Manure Seeds
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