Who doesn’t want to grow plants that serve two purposes?
As it turns out, there are some plants you can grow that are as beneficial for your horses as they are for your garden. And, alfalfa happens to be one of them. Full of high-quality protein, alfalfa meal is a favorite food of equines. Even better, it also has plenty of advantages for your soil as well.
Whether you choose to grow and process your own alfalfa or pick it up from a nearby garden store, you’ll be sure to notice the soil-nurturing benefits of adding this incredible fertilizer into your garden.
History of Alfalfa Meal
It might be under-appreciated today, but alfalfa has actually been used around the world for thousands of years. Remains of 6,000-year-old alfalfa found in Iran, indicate that it was probably domesticated in that region. The early Babylonians and Romans found it to be an essential way to feed their war horses. As it helped to build up their endurance and make them strong.
Introduced to the United States in the 18th century as America’s first introduced forage crop, alfalfa became popular with early agrarians like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. By the California Gold Rush, alfalfa was growing around the country. As it was an easy way to power livestock like oxen and draft horses.
Today, Alfalfa grows throughout the world. Currently, it takes up over 23 million acres in the United States, most of which is for animal feed.
How It Works
There are dozens of types of livestock feed on the market today. However, none can match alfalfa when it comes to protein per acre. The benefits are even better when alfalfa goes back to the soil as a form of compost. When applied to a garden, alfalfa meal breaks down quickly and becomes accessible to micro bacteria and earthworms. These forces work to break down and process the nutrients in order to make them easily accessible to plants.
The heat produced by these munching bacteria can also do wonders for speeding up a compost pile. Simply mix some into the pile and the rate of decomposition will quickly increase.