Alfalfa meal is the ultimate plant-based fertilizer for healthy growth. Alfalfa meal has been a go-to soil amendment for organic gardeners for decades, thanks to its rich nutrient content and natural growth hormone. It is made from dried and ground-up alfalfa plants and is 100% vegan!
In this article, we will explore the many benefits of alfalfa meal for your garden, including promoting healthy growth, building soil health, increasing pest resistance, encouraging earthworm activity, and being an eco-friendly and sustainable option. We will also discuss how to use alfalfa meal as a soil amendment, tea, compost activator, and in veganic gardening. So, whether you are a seasoned organic gardener or just starting out, keep reading to discover the wonders of alfalfa meal.
Benefits of Alfalfa Meal
Alfalfa meal is a powerhouse of nutrients that offers numerous benefits for your plants and soil. Here are the top benefits of using alfalfa meal in your garden:
N-P-K value and micro-nutrients in alfalfa meal
Alfalfa meal is a rich source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with an average N-P-K value of 3-1-2. This makes it an excellent fertilizer to replace lost nitrogen in your soil. In addition to these primary nutrients, alfalfa meal also contains a range of micro-nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sulphur, manganese, iron, copper, boron, and zinc, which are essential for plant growth and development. These micro-nutrients not only promote plant growth but also help to build healthy soil.
Growth hormone Triacontanol and its effects on plant growth
Alfalfa contains a natural growth hormone called Triacontanol that stimulates plant growth and development. This hormone aids in the development of lateral branches, resulting in larger, healthier plants with more bud sites. It also contributes to fruit size and flavor, leading to amazing results. Using alfalfa meal in your garden can help you achieve healthier, more robust crops.
How alfalfa meal can improve soil health
Alfalfa meal is not only an excellent source of nutrients for your plants but also improves soil health. It contains a range of trace minerals that help to build soil health and promote a healthy soil ecosystem. Alfalfa meal acts as a natural soil conditioner that improves soil structure and water-holding capacity. It also attracts earthworms and other beneficial microbes, leading to better soil aeration and water retention.
Pest resistance and the repelling effects of saponins in alfalfa meal
The high level of saponins in alfalfa meal helps to repel pests, making it an effective and natural way to protect your plants. Saponins are a natural detergent-like compound that can inhibit the feeding of certain insects and pests. Using alfalfa meal in your garden can help you to reduce the use of harmful pesticides.
Eco-friendliness and sustainability of alfalfa as a renewable resource
Alfalfa is a renewable resource that is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Using alfalfa meal in your garden is an environmentally conscious choice that promotes sustainable agriculture. Moreover, alfalfa meal is biodegradable and safe for the environment.
Using Alfalfa Meal in the Garden
Alfalfa meal is a versatile organic soil amendment that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance plant growth and soil health.
Applying alfalfa meal as a dry soil amendment is one of the most common ways to use it in the garden. Simply broadcast the meal around the garden and let the worms and microbes take care of the rest. Alternatively, you can mix it into the soil by tilling or manually mixing it in.
Another way to use alfalfa meal is by making alfalfa tea for plants. This can be as simple as soaking the meal in water for a day or two and then using the resulting liquid to water your plants. Alfalfa tea can also be added to compost teas when brewing with air pumps to provide a food source to the microbes in the compost.
Fermented plant extracts using alfalfa meal are also gaining popularity in natural farming practices. These extracts can be made by fermenting fresh or rehydrated dried alfalfa meal with other plants like kelp meal, comfrey, nettles, and yarrow. The resulting concentrate can be used as a plant growth tonic and applied via soil drench.
Alfalfa meal can also be used as a compost activator, providing a source of nitrogen and protein that speeds up the composting process. It can also be used to restart a stalled compost pile.
For those practicing veganic gardening, alfalfa meal is a great substitute for animal-based nitrogen sources. It can be blended with other soil amendments like gypsum, basalt, azomite, lime, rock phosphate, and kelp meal to create a complete veganic all-purpose fertilizer.
Incorporating alfalfa meal into your gardening practices is a great way to increase organic matter, provide essential nutrients, and promote healthy soil and plant growth.
Dosage guidelines and frequency of application:
To achieve the best results with alfalfa meal, it's important to follow dosage guidelines and apply it at the correct frequency. As a general rule, you should apply 1/2 cup of alfalfa meal per plant (30L pot) or 1 cup per square meter to your soil. This will ensure that your plants receive the right amount of nutrients without causing any harm. Reapply alfalfa meal every 6-10 weeks to ensure a consistent supply of nutrients for your plants.
How to properly store alfalfa meal:
Proper storage of alfalfa meal is essential to maintain its quality and effectiveness. It's recommended to store alfalfa meal in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. You can store it in an airtight container to prevent moisture and air from affecting its quality. If stored correctly, alfalfa meal can last for several months without losing its potency.
Precautions to take when using alfalfa meal:
While alfalfa meal is generally safe to use, there are a few precautions to take to avoid any potential problems. First, be sure to source non-GMO alfalfa to ensure that you're using a high-quality product. It's also important to avoid over-application of alfalfa meal, as this can lead to nutrient imbalances in the soil. Finally, be mindful of any allergies or sensitivities to alfalfa, and wear gloves and a mask when handling large quantities to avoid inhaling dust particles.
What is the N-P-K ratio of alfalfa meal?
The N-P-K ratio of alfalfa meal can vary depending on the brand, but it is usually around 3-1-2.
Can alfalfa meal be used for all types of plants?
Yes, alfalfa meal can be used for a variety of plants, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and shrubs.
How long does it take for alfalfa meal to break down in the soil?
Alfalfa meal will break down in the soil rather quickly, usually within a few weeks.
Can alfalfa meal be used as a fertilizer by itself?
While alfalfa meal is a good source of nitrogen and other nutrients, it is not a fully balanced fertilizer by itself. It is recommended to use it in conjunction with other soil amendments.
Can alfalfa meal attract pests to the garden?
No, quite the opposite actually. The saponins in alfalfa meal can repel pests, making it an effective and natural way to protect your plants.
Can alfalfa meal burn plants if applied in excess?
Yes, like any fertilizer, applying too much alfalfa meal can burn plants. It is recommended to follow dosage guidelines and to always test a small area before applying a full dose.
Is alfalfa meal safe for pets?
Alfalfa meal is safe for pets, but it is recommended to keep them away from the area until the meal has been fully incorporated into the soil.