Alfalfa Seeds - How to grow Alfalfa for the garden and for Sprouts to eat ?
Alfalfa , two ways for the Garden and for Sprouts to eat.
How to Grow Alfalfa Plant for the Garden
Easily grown and propagated, alfalfa adapts well to nearly any garden, tolerating a wide range of growing conditions. It makes a good drought-resistant plant too, as it doesn’t like wet feet. In fact, too much moisture can lead to mold growth. When growing alfalfa, choose an area with plenty of full sun. Also look for a well-draining area with a soil pH level between 6.8 and 7.5. Prior to planting, you should clean the area, work the soil, and remove any debris.
How to Plant Alfalfa Those living in cooler climates can plant alfalfa in spring while milder regions should opt for fall planting. Since alfalfa roots quickly, it doesn’t require deep planting—only about a half inch deep. Merely sprinkle the seeds evenly onto the soil and cover lightly with dirt. Use about ¼ pound of seeds per 25 square feet and space rows about 18-24 inches. You should begin to see sprouts within seven to 10 days. Once seedlings have reached about six to 12 inches, thin them as needed to avoid overcrowding issues. Unless growing alfalfa as hay for livestock, allow it to grow until crops are ready to be planted or its purple blooms appear, at which time you can simply mow it down and till it into the soil or leave it. The alfalfa shoots will breakdown. This ‘green manure‘ will then fertilize the soil as well as stimulate microbial activity, thus aerating it too.
Harvesting Alfalfa Plant If planting alfalfa for livestock, it will need to be harvested and cured prior to flowering (known as early-bloom stage). It becomes more difficult for these animals to digest once the plant matures. Harvesting in this early-bloom stage also ensures the most optimal nutrient percentages, which is often found in the plant’s leaves.
Do not cut alfalfa if rain is imminent, as this can damage the crop. Rainy weather can lead to issues with mold. Quality alfalfa hay should possess good green color and leafiness as well as a pleasant aroma and thin, pliable stems. Once harvested, the ground will need to be turned before next season’s planting takes place.
Alfalfa has few pest problems; however, the alfalfa weevil can cause serious damage. In addition, the stem nematode can infest and weaken stem buds.
How to Grow Alfalfa Plant for Sprouts to Eat ?
Place a tablespoon of seeds and enough water to cover them in the jar and secure the lid in place. Set the jar in a warm, dark location.
Rinse the seeds the following morning. Drain the water from the jar through the sprouting lid or cheesecloth. Give it a gentle shake to get rid of as much water as possible, then add lukewarm water and swirl the seeds in the water to rinse them. Add slightly more than enough water to cover the seeds and replace the jar in a warm, dark place.
Repeat the draining and rinsing procedure twice a day for four days. On the fourth day, place the jar in a bright location out of direct sunlight so the homegrown sprouts can develop some green color.
Rinse the growing alfalfa sprouts and place them in a bowl of water at the end of the fourth day. Skim off the seed coats that rise to the surface and then strain them through a colander. Shake out as much water as possible.
Store the sprouts in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Homegrown sprouts keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Now that you know how to grow your own alfalfa sprouts, you can enjoy this nutritious treat without any worries.
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