How to Cultivate and Grow Red Clover
Red clover is a perennial wild flower that grows in meadows all over Europe and Asia naturally. These days, it is also wild-growing in North America. It is a plant of the legume family – which includes beans, pulses and lentils. It is generally grazed on by cattle and sheep. However, this plant has some very surprising health benefits.
The red clover is rich in a wide range of minerals, including magnesium, niacin, calcium, chromium, phosphorus, thiamine, and vitamin C and potassium.
The red clover is rich in isoflavins – substances that act like the hormone estrogen. As a result, red clover can potentially be used to treat hot flashes and menopausal complications.
However, research is still being conducted on the effectiveness of such treatment, and present results are a bit inconclusive – even though many people swear by it.
Traditionally, red clover has been used to prevent cancer, and as a diuretic (a substance that stimulates urination), and as an expectorant (a substance that clears mucous from lungs).
Cultivation of Red Clover
Red clover is often grown for its vivid red flowers. The great thing about red clover is that it is a legume. Legume plants develop root nodules where bacteria live, which ‘fix the nitrogen in the soil, making it available in a form usable by plants.
This means that cultivating legumes in a bed will enrich the nitrogen content of the bed – for free! This is an effect normally achieved by the use of expensive chemical or organic fertilizers.
- Till the bed well and throw away any stones.
- Test the ph of the soil. Red clover thrives best in a neutral to slightly acidic soil, and the ideal pH for red clover growing ranges from 6.0 to 6.5.
- Phosphorus and potassium are also required, and enrich these minerals with fertilizers if necessary
- Seed ten to twelve pounds of seeds per acre of soil.
- The best time for sowing the seeds is in late winter to early spring for north to central US (or areas with similar clime) warmer climate regions should have red clover seeded in autumn.
- Harvest the clover when it is in early bloom. This may be about summer. Up to three harvests are possible. Three cuttings are recommended too, as it will help the red clover from spreading seed (and thus becoming invasive) and will also keep a high nutritional profile in the harvested produce.
Tips on Growing Red Clover
- Red clover is best grown with a companion crop, such as wheat, barley or oats. You can also plant with grass. In that case, use about 7 pounds of seed per acre.
- The seeds should be inoculated with the nitrogen fixing “Rhizobium trifolii” bacterium in order to ensure its growth in the root nodules of the plant. The seeds of the plant often come inoculated, so ask at the nursery before buying.
Medicinal Uses of Red Clover
The red leaf clover may be merely a humble grazing fodder for cattle and sheep, but it is in fact a potent herb that stores some powerful capabilities. It contains some surprisingly healthy perks that come packed in this tiny plant with beautiful bloom.
Both the leaves, and the flower itself can be consumed for health benefit, along with the occasional use of the root.
Menopausal relief – Red clover contains numerous phytoestrogens and four different types of isoflavins – chemicals which help increase the effect of estrogens. This helps with alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
Relief from menstrual cramps – The estrogen boosting capabilities of the red clover also help combat menstrual cramps, along with other PMS symptoms.
Helps lower cholesterol levels – Red clover cleans the blood, with its antioxidant action. This helps lower cholesterol levels significantly.
Cleanses blood to help improve cardiovascular health – The blood cleansing properties of red clover also help improve heart health. It keeps the capillaries healthy by preventing the deposition of arterial plaque.
Helps decrease the possibility of bone density loss from the onset of menopause – Bone density loss patterns are also busted by the use of red clover. It can help ensure continued bone health in post-menopausal women.