Medicago sativa Perennial legume. Up to 3' high. Variety: Viking 340M. This fragrant plant with beautiful purple flowers is a favorite for multi-year stands. Home gardeners like to cut it and add it to their compost piles. Herbalists consider it a valuable nutritive tonic. Excellent feed for all classes of livestock. Best suited to light well-drained soils because alfalfa's taproot makes it susceptible to heaving. Delicate seedlings benefit from a nurse crop of barley or oats. ②
As perennial hay: Typically interplanted with grass in organic systems. Often rotated with field corn on livestock farms (2–3 year alfalfa stand followed by 1–2 years of corn).
As cover crop: An excellent choice to build organic matter and nitrogen in fields that will be taken out of production for more than one year. Regular mowing will help deter quackgrass and annual weeds.