That fine winter plant, Alfalfa

This is an odd one. I was wandering by the Vila paddock this morning and I noticed that it was greener than expected. What weeds were growing over the winter while the alfalfa/lucerne was sleeping? Maybe the orchard grass/cocksfoot/dactyle had started early?


Well, no. That’s alfalfa growing in January. Elsewhere on the farm it is hibernating with the bears, but in Vila it is growing away. Vila is south-facing and maybe that extra heat in the soil makes all the difference.


I was expecting the alfalfa to show up in April. Maybe we’ll get a February cold snap to kill all this back, maybe it will keep on growing through winter. It has survived a handful of frosts already.



It has been a mild winter so far.

5 thoughts on “That fine winter plant, Alfalfa

  1. curiousfarmer says:

    Do you know your alfalfa’s fall dormancy and winter survival rating? It may be different than in the US.
    Amazing warm weather. We’ve been below zero F here.

  2. grasspunk says:

    I don’t have any numbers for the seed. I have seeded the same seed elsewhere on the farm and it is has been dormant the last couple of months.

    I’ve seen the harsh winter photos on your blog. The minimum here has been about -4C which is about 25F. Balmy and tropical.

  3. Zephyr Hill says:

    I have a vague memory of something about alfalfa being toxic if it freezes. Did I make that up or is it true? Maybe just for horses and not cattle? I know a lot of things we thought we knew when we were younger aren’t really true! 🙂

  4. grasspunk says:

    The risk of bloat gets higher for a few days after the first killing frost. All our fields are either seeded with orchard grass or old enough to be full of ryegrass and other non-legumes so there’s no pure stand on the farm. My biggest worry is damaging the alfalfa and lowering its value next year.

    The alfalfa is still growing which I find just stunning. We could get a big frost in February like we did last year which could damage the crop but there’s not a lot I can do about that. It looks pretty right now, in fact the whole farm looks super green.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s