bounty of the vacant lot – sweet clover

continuing on with the theme.  should any one care, these were shot in august i think, for a lecture i gave for midwest permaculture.  i did their design certificate workshop about 3 years ago, and when they were in the area i offered to do a quick lecture on what i’ve been working on since.  i don’t think they expected that i would spend so much time talking about weeds, but you can’t dictate too much what folks are going to talk about.  i’ve been planning on doing these vacant lot post for awhile, so it’s about time i do.

so for our next gift from the alleged vacant lot, i give you

white sweet clover

white sweet clover!  white sweet clovers botanical name melilotus alba reveals at least one thing about it, and if i was better with languages it would revel even more to me, meli is greek for honey.  sweet clover is one of the premier forage crops for bees.  sweet clover is a biennial like our other friend the queen anne’s lace, throwing up a long spikey white flower in the second year that is loved by the bees.  unlike many legumes or at least clovers, it is rather tall getting to be 5-6 feet.  sweet clover’s name is apt, when you crush it, it does give off a sweet smell.  As a legume sweet clover it a great fixer of nitrogen, and its deep tap roots help to break up hard compacted soils.  Sweet clover is supposed to contain coumarinic acids which act as blood thinners, helping to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow.  for this reason some have recommended its use as an alternative for prescription blood thinners.  i’ve often used sweet clovers as a cover crop, especially on areas that needed lots of help, as mentioned before it fixes nitrogen, breaks up soils, but also is pretty good at smoothing out weeds.  like our friend the queen anne’s lace it is purported to be an invasive.


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