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Growing Fiber Rich Alfalfa

Pragya T Mar 7, 2019
Read ahead how to grow alfalfa sprouts and will give you tips on growing it at home.
Alfalfa is a leguminous forage plant, which is mostly used as animal feed. However, occasionally it is also used as food by people. It has been cultivated since 5th century, and became very popular during the 17th century.
The characteristics that alfalfa possess distinguish it from other food crops. It is toxic to itself, as it can't reproduce in regions where a crop is already present.
Hence, it is necessary to plow this crop, before you plant the next season's crop. The mature plant is highly rich in fiber, which makes it a bit unsuitable for human consumption, but good for most domesticated animals.
Cultivating alfalfa for hay is a common project, and the crop is harvested before the flowers start to appear. It is popular as a feed supplement for horses and cattle. Cultivating alfalfa for deer is another project where different varieties of native alfalfa plants are grown.

Alfalfa Sprouts

► To make the seeds sprout, first wash them and soak them in water. Use two tablespoons of seeds in a container and cover them with two inches of water.
► Place the container in a place that doesn't get direct sunlight. Keep rinsing the sprouts twice in a day with cool water. To rinse them simply wash them clean with fresh and cool water for 10 seconds in a drainer.
► After a few days the sprouts might start clumping with each together. As this starts happening, stir the sprouts with a fork while washing the sprouts to break the clumps.

► As the sprouts start to turn green and grow leaves, wash the sprouts and remove any hulls that have appeared on top of the container.
► After a week's period the sprouts will be ready to eat. You can store them in a refrigerator, but make sure you eat them within a couple of days. You can eat them plain, stir fry, make a salad, or use them in casseroles.

Steps to Grow Alfalfa at Home

Fresh leaves and flowers of this plant are a better food source, compared to the sprouts.
► Buy the seeds from a farm or feed supply store. Mostly it is grown for cattle, to grow it in your home garden, select the organic seeds. Purchase the pure alfalfa seeds, because sometimes it is mixed with other forms of grass.
► Select a site which has a slight incline, as the plants won't do well if there is standing water. The plant grows around a height of 2 - 3 feet, so select the patch of your vegetable garden accordingly.
► Before you start sowing the seeds, till the land and get rid of weeds or any debris present in the soil. As it takes root quickly, it doesn't needs to be planted into ground, you can just sprinkle an even layer of seeds over the ground, and then cover it with a light layer of more soil or peat moss.
► Plant seeds about ¼ lb. in an area which is 5 by 5 feet in size. Sprinkle the seeds evenly and if the weather conditions are not good, then increase the number of seeds.

► Within ten days, you can see sprouts sticking out of the soil.

► You can replant alfalfa in April and again in August, and harvest it after 70 days.
So, whether you want to grow alfalfa for sprouts or for the leaves, follow the given instructions and take care to prevent any pests or over watering problems.