Alfalfa or Lucerne (Medicago sativa) is a hero in both the kitchen and the garden. It is easy and fast to grow indoors to add a slight nutty taste to salads or sandwiches. Perfect for kids to grow as it can be easily sprouted in a container and eaten within a few days! It can also be grown as a green manure in garden beds over winter which helps promote good soil structure.


How to grow Alfalfa in a garden

  1. Remove all weeds from the garden bed. This will assist with germination and reduce any competition for nutrients and water. 
  2. Loosen soil in the garden bed and enrich with Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.
  3. Lightly rake area one way to create furrows.
  4. Sow seeds at a rate of 10 grams per 10 square metres, then cross rake the area to cover the seeds lightly.
  5. Water well during the germination and through the growing period.
  6. When you start to see flowers, cut them down to ground height then either dig them well into the soil or leave on top of the soil to create green mulch. Alternatively, harvest the tops for use as mulch in other parts of the garden, leaving the plants in place to produce an additional crop.

 

How to grow Alfalfa in a pot

For use in salads as sprouts

  1. Choose a well lit spot indoors that is away from direct heat or sunlight.
  2. Using a large, wide mouthed glass jar, place the seeds into the jar and soak in lukewarm water for approximately 3 hours. 
  3. Cover the top of the jar with a porous fabric like muslin, stocking or a cotton handkerchief and secure in place with a rubber band.
  4. Strain out the water, and leave the jar on a slight angle with the top of the jar facing downwards. This will allow the water to drain freely and improve ventilation.
  5. Fill the jar twice a day with lukewarm water, and shake well to ensure that all of the spouts are rinsed, then drain. 
  6. After 3 – 5 days, sprouts should be ready for eating. Remove them from the jar and rinse well under running water in a fine strainer prior to consumption.

Yates varieties

Alfalfa sprouts

Alfalfa (lucerne) is an easy-to-grow, refreshing salad ingredient that is ready to eat in a few days.

Growing tips

  • If growing for use in salads, ensure that the seeds don’t dry out as this will affect their sprouting abilities.
  • Alfalfa can become mouldy if the water is left to sit in the jar for long periods of time. Avoid this by ensuring that the jar is well drained and ventilated.
  • Alfalfa sprouts can be refrigerated for about one week without losing flavour, provided they are placed in an airtight container.
  • Great for a green manure in winter. For best results, allow the plants to remain in the soil until they commence flowering.
  • Once the green manure has been dug into the soil, wait at least 6 weeks before preparing the bed for new plantings.

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