The Alfalfa Patch

I remember, back when I was a kid, riding the tractor with my dad as he baled alfalfa. It was a lot of fun; I loved the sweet smell of the fresh alfalfa and watching the bales come out of the baler and fall to the ground. In fact, I remember riding many rounds in this very patch….

Once it was all baled, I’d ride around with him in the pickup watching as he stacked the bales on the trailer and when he was done, I’d climb and jump around on them…lots of good memories, for sure!

It’s always been known as “the alfalfa patch” in my family because my dad and grandpa grew alfalfa there way before I was even born. When we were first thinking about moving here, we had considered putting our house out there. Once we thought about how far it was from the water well, we decided it wouldn’t be the best spot. Besides that, it just seemed a little funny to have our house out in the alfalfa patch. Even though there hasn’t been any alfalfa growing there for quite a few years now, it was just one of those things… you know, where something has been called something for so long that it just takes on that name and to call it anything else just seems weird… yeah, that’s how it is with the alfalfa patch.

Once we got moved here, we had many discussions on what to do with the alfalfa patch. There were a lot of saplings growing out there, so the first year Michael spent a lot of time cutting them down and digging them out. I occasionally helped stack them in a pile to be burned and as we worked we talked about how it would be so neat to plant it back to alfalfa. But at the time we didn’t have the resources to do it so we discussed other options. One was just leaving it grass, fencing it off and using it as an extra pasture for the goats. It didn’t really seem like the best thing to do because we had plenty of pasture for the goats, plus it would be a lot of fence to build. Another idea we had was to use it as additional garden space to grow more things that we couldn’t fit in the garden. We decided that idea wouldn’t work very well because it’s pretty far away from the water hydrant, so it would make it challenging to water. Now, thinking back, that idea makes me laugh… us keeping up with that big of a garden when we can barely keep up with all the picking, watering, weeding and canning of the one we already have. I’m so glad that idea never came about because there’s simply not enough time in the day for all that work and besides… thinking of the alfalfa patch being anything else but an alfalfa patch just doesn’t seem right.

Finally after the first winter of hunting for and buying hay and alfalfa bales for the goats, we decided we really needed to turn the alfalfa patch back into an alfalfa patch. In the long run, we figure it might save us a little money on feed for the goats. Recently we’ve managed to come up with the resources to make it happen. A while back we purchased a small tractor and Michael found a good deal on an old small plow and disk that fit perfectly on it. We have a really nice neighbor who has a swather and told us he’d swath it for us and gave us the name of someone who would bale it. We are so excited to be able to finally plant it back to alfalfa.

Michael plowed and disked it, and then our neighbor stopped by and offered to disk it with a new type of disk he’s trying out. We gratefully accepted his offer since it was going to take Michael several more rounds over the patch with our small disk just to get it smooth enough. Soon it was smooth and ready for planting. We didn’t have a seeder, nor could we find one to rent, so we decided to broadcast it with a seed spreader like this:

Once Michael got the seeds all broadcasted, he worked them in with a drag harrow….

Hopefully the seeds will take root and grow so we’ll have a nice crop of alfalfa…

that way the alfalfa patch will officially be an alfalfa patch once again.


1 thought on “The Alfalfa Patch

  1. Pingback: First Homegrown Hay! | Humble Little Homestead

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