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How to Germinate Red Clover

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Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) is a fast growing member of the legume family that germinates easily under most conditions. Red clover is often used as a cover crop and natural fertilizer to add nitrogen to the soil over the winter. This plant is tolerant of shade and grows under a variety of conditions that make it ideal for growing in conjunction with other garden crops. Red clover sown alongside corn rows will naturally fertilizer the nearby corn plants and limit erosion in your garden.

Seed Treatment

If you plan on using your red clover as a natural method of fertilization, you will need to innoculate the seeds with rhizobium first. This bacteria is a necessary part of the natural process that red clover uses to transfer nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil. Rhizobium is available from many seed distributors.

Sowing Times

Red clover sown during the fall uses the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of red clover to prepare the soil for the next year’s crop. Plant your fall red clover crop at least 6 weeks before the first frost. This allows your red clover time to germinate and establish a healthy level of growth.

Overseeding

In gardens with established crops you can use a broadcast spreader to spread red clover over the surface of your garden between your garden rows. Establish your other garden plants first to ensure that they are not competing with the clover. Rake the spaces between your rows and seed the red clover between each one at a rate of one ounce per 226 square feet. Apply a fertilizer high in nitrogen between your existing garden rows before you overseed your garden with clover, to promote growth after it germinates.

Sowing Seeds

Red clover seeds germinate readily in bare ground when they are planted at a depth between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch. Seeds that are planted deeper than 1/2 an inch may not germinate. Use a roto-tiller or hoe to create rows in your garden that are less than 1/2 an inch deep. Space your rows within an inch of each other to create a dense cover of red clover. Sow your seeds into each row at a rate of one ounce for every 453 square feet of ground. Cover the seeds with a layer of dirt no more than a 1/4 of an inch thick.

Considerations and Care

Red clover requires very little maintenance and grows best without fertilizer. If your area is experiencing persistently dry weather, water your seeds enough to thoroughly moisten the surrounding soil. Red clover grows in most types of soil but it performs best in well drained, loamy soils with a pH rating above 6. Consider adding a layer of topsoil to your garden if you are having trouble establishing your clover in sandy or rocky soil.

  • United States Department of Agriculture: Red Clover
  • Michigan State University: Red Clover
  • Pennslyvannia State University: Management of Red Clover as a Cover Crop

Daniel Thompson began writing about analytical literature in 2004. He has written informative guides for a hardware store and was published at an academic conference as part of a collaborative project. He attained a Bachelors of Fine Arts in English literature from Eastern Kentucky University.

How to Germinate Red Clover. Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) is a fast growing member of the legume family that germinates easily under most conditions. Red clover is often used as a cover crop and natural fertilizer to add nitrogen to the soil over the winter. This plant is tolerant of shade and grows under a …

Red Clover Green Manure Seeds

Red Clover Green Manure Seeds can be sown between April – September at a rate of 2-3g/sqm and can be left for 3-18 months. It is good at suppressing weeds as it grows bulky foliage that smothers weeds (give it a good start clearing the soil of all weeds first). The flowers are loved by bees and beneficial insects but cut down or dig in before setting seed.

Clover is part of the pea family and fixes nitrogen from the air in its root nodules. (These are the little pink nodes found on the roots of the legume family). When chopped up and dug into the soil the nitrogen store is released fairly quickly. If sown with a ‘nitrogen lifter’ like Italian Rye or Forage Rye the nitrogen will be released at a slower rate sometimes up to 6 months later so use will depend on when the following crop will be planted and the nitrogen needed. This is very important to large scale farmers and useful for small home/allotment growers. Sow clover before a brassicas in a crop rotation plan to release nitrogen to the following leafy greens.

Red Clover has medicinal properties that are used in the treatment of ‘hot flushes’ as it contains chemicals that mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen. It also helps in the control of eczema, whooping cough and even nappy creams. Do not try to make yourself only buy proper propriety medicines.

Red Clover Green Manure Seed Sowing Advice

When to Sow: April, May, June, July, August, September.
Growing period: 3-18 months.
Ideal Soil Type: Good Loam or Sandy Soil.
Nitrogen fixer: Yes.
How to Sow: Prepare the soil by roughly digging it over and removing any weeds. Lightly tread the soil, and then sow the seeds by broadcast sowing (i.e. scattering evenly) for good coverage. Rows can be sown but are not as good for weed suppression. Rake the soil and water well. In dry periods you may need to water until the green manure is established.
Care: The green manure should be cut down before flowering when the stems are nice and soft as they decompose quicker, retain more beneficial nutrients and are easier to incorporate into the soil. They can be dug into the soil by turning over into the top 15cms or left on the top as a mulch, the worms will drag down the organic matter and help to aerate the soil.

How Much Seed Do I Need?

Coverage rates quoted in the table above are based on our recommended seed coverage of 2g per m 2.

When to Sow Red Clover Green Manure Seeds

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

General Green Manure Seed Advice & Information

Follow the links below for further Green Manure information:

External Links

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Red Clover (Trifolium) is a fast-growing perennial green manure. It is the best variety of clover for fixing nitrogen from the air, weed suppression & improving soil structure. Its roots penetrate deep into the soil and help to improve its structure by binding soils together (especially light ones) and this.

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Red Clover (Trifolium) is a fast-growing perennial green manure. It is the best variety of clover for fixing nitrogen from the air, weed suppression & improving soil structure. Its roots penetrate deep into the soil and help to improve its structure by binding soils together (especially light ones) and this help against nutrients leaching in wet winters. The growing bulky foliage also helps to prevent soil erosion especially during winter and helps the soil to retain more moisture in summer/winter.

Red Clover Green Manure Seeds can be sown between April – September at a rate of 2-3g/sqm and can be left for 3-18 months. It is good at suppressing weeds as it grows bulky foliage that smothers weeds (give it a good start clearing the soil of all weeds first). The flowers are loved by bees and beneficial insects but cut down or dig in before setting seed.

Clover is part of the pea family and fixes nitrogen from the air in its root nodules. (These are the little pink nodes found on the roots of the legume family). When chopped up and dug into the soil the nitrogen store is released fairly quickly. If sown with a ‘nitrogen lifter’ like Italian Rye or Forage Rye the nitrogen will be released at a slower rate sometimes up to 6 months later so use will depend on when the following crop will be planted and the nitrogen needed. This is very important to large scale farmers and useful for small home/allotment growers. Sow clover before a brassicas in a crop rotation plan to release nitrogen to the following leafy greens.

Red Clover has medicinal properties that are used in the treatment of ‘hot flushes’ as it contains chemicals that mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen. It also helps in the control of eczema, whooping cough and even nappy creams. Do not try to make yourself only buy proper propriety medicines.

Red Clover Green Manure Seed Sowing Advice

When to Sow: April, May, June, July, August, September.
Growing period: 3-18 months.
Ideal Soil Type: Good Loam or Sandy Soil.
Nitrogen fixer: Yes.
How to Sow: Prepare the soil by roughly digging it over and removing any weeds. Lightly tread the soil, and then sow the seeds by broadcast sowing (i.e. scattering evenly) for good coverage. Rows can be sown but are not as good for weed suppression. Rake the soil and water well. In dry periods you may need to water until the green manure is established.
Care: The green manure should be cut down before flowering when the stems are nice and soft as they decompose quicker, retain more beneficial nutrients and are easier to incorporate into the soil. They can be dug into the soil by turning over into the top 15cms or left on the top as a mulch, the worms will drag down the organic matter and help to aerate the soil.

How Much Seed Do I Need?

Coverage rates quoted in the table above are based on our recommended seed coverage of 2g per m 2.

Red Clover (Trifolium) is a fast-growing perennial green manure. It is the best variety of clover for fixing nitrogen from the air, weed suppression & improving soil structure. Its roots penetrate deep into the soil and help to improve its structure by binding soils together (especially light ones) and this help ag