• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Red Clover or Alfalfa?

 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello, All!

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

I have a few acres northwest of Spokane, WA. The land is silty/sandy/rocky clay, mostly covered with grass and pine trees. The grass is by no means lush and you can see plenty of soil between the bunches. I do have a lot of arrowleaf balsamroot and a scattering of yarrow and dandelion. There is no humus. BTW the arrowleaf balsamroot likes a pH of 6.5 to 8. http://plants.usda.gov/java/charProfile?symbol=BASA3 Maybe the soil isn't terribly acidic. I'm going to do soil testing soon.

Last year, I planted tomatoes, squash, peppers and bush beans. The beans were the only plants that did well. The tomatoes and peppers didn't grow at all. They were starts, not from seed. The squash seeds sprouted, grew a few inches and stopped.

Obviously the soil is poor. I also expect to provide some sort of irrigation from June through September. I can pump plenty of water but wish to use as little as possible.

So, the goal is to build up the soil with solutions that use the least amount of water.

I want to build up the soil in a 60' by 60' area initially. I was thinking of planting either red clover or alfalfa this year and plowing it under in the fall or planting amid the plants the next spring.

I've read that alfalfa takes less water, but that red clover can retain more water in the soil.

Anyone have experience with both alfalfa and clover?

Is there a better, different direction to go?

Here's some interesting reading...

http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/0007.html

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/jul01/clover0701.pdf

Thanks again for any help!
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You should drop 15lbs of pasture on 1acre of land now, that should cost about $15.
Note which ones grow well and add another 15lbs at the start of the fall rain season, just add extra fava beans and winter rye/wheat.

Here is a pasture list too.
The main thing to remember is that you want 4 types of plants 1.N-fixers, 2.Drymass, 3.Pest control/medicine, 4.Aerating roots
I would plant 7-12 plants in each category.
mustard
burdock
alfalfa
lamb's quarter
fava bean
sweet clover
lupine
landino clover
buckwheat
hairy vetch
daikon
black-eyed peas
comfrey
sun flower
yarrow
borage
chamomile
dandelion
turnip
bee balm
lavender
mullein
pea (pisum arvitiuse)
stinging nettle
chard
maximillian sunflower
sorghum

 
Mike Hagar
Posts: 26
Location: Spokane, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi S Benji,

When you say 15 lbs of pasture... did you miss a word? On the list of plants you say there are 4 type and you need some of each. Could you associate the types with the plants in the list?

Thanks,
Mike
 
Mike Hagar
Posts: 26
Location: Spokane, WA
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Jeremey,

I live in Mead. This year I am going to try this polyculture pasture mixture: http://www.permies.com/t/13605/resources-seeds-plants-honey-consulting/Holzer-style-Perennial-Pasture-Seed

Check it out and good luck. Also check out the new www.SpokanePermaculture.org website.

Mike
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yeah, add 15lbs of seed mix per acre
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5614
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
284
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
S Bengi wrote:You should drop 15lbs of pasture on 1acre of land now, that should cost about $15.
Note which ones grow well and add another 15lbs at the start of the fall rain season, just add extra fava beans and winter rye/wheat.

Here is a pasture list too.
The main thing to remember is that you want 4 types of plants 1.N-fixers, 2.Drymass, 3.Pest control/medicine, 4.Aerating roots
I would plant 7-12 plants in each category.
mustard
burdock
alfalfa
lamb's quarter
fava bean
sweet clover
lupine
landino clover
buckwheat
hairy vetch
daikon
black-eyed peas
comfrey
sun flower
yarrow
borage
chamomile
dandelion
turnip
bee balm
lavender
mullein
pea (pisum arvitiuse)
stinging nettle
chard
maximillian sunflower
sorghum





I wondered what you mean by drymass? is that the same as biomass? If you could arrange the list into the four catagories that would be very helpful. thanks.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!