A Clean Seed-bed
Much failure with alfalfa is due to summer grasses
and other weeds. The moisture in our eastern states favors plant-life,
and most soils are thoroughly stocked with the seeds of a large number
of weeds. The value of blue-grass and timothy would be comparatively
small if they were not capable of monopolizing the ground when well
started and given fertility. Alfalfa plants are less capable of
crowding out other plants, and especially in their first season. Their
habit of growth is unlike that of grass. Rational treatment of alfalfa
demands that the surface soil be made fairly clean of weed seed, and
this applies with peculiar force to annual grasses, like fox-tail. If
attention were paid to this point, failures would be far less numerous.
Old grass land should not be seeded until a cultivated crop has
followed the plowing. The land should be in good tilth, and capable of
producing a good crop of any sort. Alfalfa is not a plant for poor
land, although it does add organic matter and nitrogen.