Sunday, April 01, 2012

We didn't ask for alfalfa

The last alfalfa patch we had was killed in its second year by a late freeze; Cliff said, "No more alfalfa."  
Alfalfa has to be cut four times a year.  It makes wonderful hay, but Cliff decided he could do without all the work, not to mention the stress of hoping it wouldn't rain while the hay cures.  He is such a perfectionist, he worried himself silly every cutting, until that alfalfa was in the barn:  Was it too dry?  Too dry means the leaves fall off when you're feeding it and you lose nutrients.  Had it cured long enough?  If not, the hay bales might mold in the center.  That isn't too dangerous for cows, but it wastes hay because they won't eat it.
My husband resolved never to plant alfalfa again.  

This is what red clover looks like.
In the fall of 2010, we went to the MFA to get seeds that would make a good permanent pasture mix, which normally consists of a couple of grasses and some red clover.  The guy at MFA didn't mix the clover seed with the rest, telling Cliff it would last a year longer if he waited till sometime in the winter to sow it.  Red clover does very well broadcast on top of snow.  So, Cliff sowed the grass seeds in fall and the "clover" seed in winter.  
  Last spring with all the seeds came up, we were surprised to find very little red clover and a LOT of alfalfa plants.  Someone must have mixed up the seeds.  The peculiar thing is that the alfalfa came up and thrived so well, because you do NOT sow alfalfa on the snow in wintertime; you sow it in August or September.  
Last year Cliff mowed it a couple of times and then let the cows graze it.  He did not intend to be slave to four cuttings of alfalfa a year.  

Look at our alfalfa crop!  This year it came on even stronger.  It's almost ready to mow for the first time.  I think Cliff has resigned himself to his fate.  I hope we can find a place to store all that hay.  
Of course, I am counting my chicks before they are hatched.  We could still get a hard freeze that would destroy the whole crop of alfalfa.  It happened once before.


  1. I guess if God wants you to grow alfalfa, then, by gosh, you're gonna grow alfalfa... :)

  2. I do hope the frost doesn't get it. It's been cold here with freeze alerts for our area several days in a row. Lots of fruit tree growers are not happy campers right now. One thing about nature is that we can never 2nd guess it. Best wishes for a wonderful Sunday!

  3. WOW! FATE intervened. Cliff now has this alfalfa burden to bear. I think I'd have liked the red clover, myelf. Hope the cooler temps stay away so you can harvest it. Good luck.

  4. I'd say he needs something to worry about and it may as well be hay.
    The man who custom baled our hay for twenty years (30 acres)had a nickname of 'Crunchy' I'm guessing you can tell he liked to show up after the hay was really dry and easy to run thru his machine. His hay never molded but he did get a lot of it wet from rain.

  5. Hopefully you'll be spared by frost. We had gotten really warm around 70 degrees for a week or two and now it's cold and frosty. Dang winter! LOL

  6. ....the year I say 'Forget this crap...' is the year I'm going to have a bumper crop of cilantro. I swear I can't grow cilantro to save my life!


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