Why use alfalfa in your garden?
It’s a good Source of Minerals
Alfalfa is a good source of nitrogen, along with several other minerals including:
It Builds Organic Matter
Alfalfa builds organic matter in your soil providing nutrients to plant roots. Its high nitrogen content helps other organic material to decompose. Organic matter also helps to prevent compaction, acts like a sponge and holds moisture in the soil, improves soil structure, and helps to prevent erosion.
It Feeds Microorganisms
The microorganisms in your soil love alfalfa because of the protein, amino acids, fiber and sugars in its stalk – items they need to thrive. Alfalfa hay has an almost perfect balance of carbon to nitrogen (24:1) which soil organisms require.
It stimulates Growth
Alfalfa contains triacontanol, a hormone which stimulates the growth of plant roots, enhances photosynthesis, and increases beneficial microbes which help to suppress many soil-borne diseases.
It fixes Nitrogen (when used as a cover crop).
Alfalfa actually takes nitrogen from the air and holds it as nodules on its roots, a process called “nitrogen fixing”. This nitrogen becomes available in the soil for other plants to use when the alfalfa plant is cut down and its roots are left in the soil, or when the plant is turned into the soil.
It stimulates Compost
When added to your compost pile, alfalfa acts as a simulator. It decomposes rapidly, creating heat which helps the rest of your compost to decompose and your finished compost will have higher nutrient levels when alfalfa is used. Higher nutrient levels in your compost and soil means more nutrient-dense produce in your garden.
It may control Harmful Nematodes
A study in Italy showed that alfalfa pellets significantly reduced infestation of root-knot nematode on tomato plants, and cyst nematode on carrots. As an added bonus, yields for both tomatoes and carrots were increased in comparison to the control groups.
It provides Drought Resistance
Because of alfalfa’s sponge-like ability to absorb and hold moisture, it helps plants grown in that soil to be more resistant to periods of low rain.
Directions: Sprinkle liberally in your potting mixes, into your garden soil, or at the base of any plants you want to give an organic boost. Lightly work in so that the microbes in the soil begin their work.