it’s been awhile since i’ve done one of these posts, and i still have some photos i took of some of my favorite plants from the vacant lots this summer including this one – alfalfa. one thing i’ve improved in the last few months is taking photos – this one like many of the others from this summer leave a bit to be desired.
alfalfa – medicago sativa is not the most common legume growing in vacant lots, but certainly isn’t rare. alfalfa in addition to fame from the little rascals is also very commonly grown for the high quality hay that it produces. alfalfa is a good nectar source for bees and many beneficial insects – as well as some common pests. it’s purple flowers are small but beautiful.
for regenerating our urban soils alfalfa is a star – it has huge long tap roots that penetrate deep into the soil, breaking up compaction and gathering nutrients from the deep and bringing it to the surface. as mentioned before alfalfa is a legume, and nitrogen fixing bacteria on it’s root nodules are able to take nitrogen in the air and put in a form useable by plants.
alfalfa sprouts are a common food – especially among the health food contingent. i myself am a fan, they are fresh and crunchy, and especially during the winter a welcome bit of greenery i can grow in the house. alfalfa is popular as a medicinal, used in tea and pill form for a variety ailments namely lowering cholesterol and for arthritis.