growing lucerne/alfalfa

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Flatland, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    We have lucerne growing but it is very patchy in places. I was thinking of collecting seed and thickening up the lucerne in the paddocks. I have be checking out the plants that are going to seed. There doesn't seem to be many seeds in the seed heads. Is this normal? is there any thing i can do to increase the seed production? Any helpful hints to get it the grow? I have been told it is hard to get started
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    how old are the existing plants that flowered? were they grazed before they flowered? were there bees around when it was flowering?

    the plants will take some years to get to their full size and flowering potential depending upon how much they are grazed and the other conditions.

    for us the best flowering/seed production is the first one that happens about mid-summer. to let the seeds ripen takes some time too. most growers don't even let their plants flower much at all before cutting or grazing.

    also, they space themselves out. the plants give off inhibitors so seeds may not germinate when put closely by other lucern plants. this makes it a very good companion plant for pastures.

    as for hard to get started, it does take a while for the plant to get going, that is why i often seed it in with something like buckwheat which will grow quickly, give some shade and protection while the alfalfa seedlings get established. and in a pasture patchy just means there's room for other plants. :) increase diversity, add more mulch to the bare spots and spread different seeds.
     
  3. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    coat the seed with milk /lime/ compost before planting in spring or autumn!
     
  4. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Hi Andrew Thanks for the info. I take it the milk etc helps it to sprout
    The plants are about 4 years old and had not been grazed and there are plenty of bees. I've tried collecting more and these seem to be better. Maybe I just picked the first lot too early
     
  5. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    some varietys are poor at setting seed i think bees have trouble fertalizing them
    The seed pods are funky looking spiral things!!
    Where are you flatland ?
     
  6. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Hi Andrew I'm at Milang South Australia. The seed pods are strange little things. I have left some to dry on the plant and they seem to have more seed. Though not many.
     

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