As you would know if you’ve done organic gardening, legumes are the fertility generators of an organic system.
Legumes fix nitrogen from the atmosphere through a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria that live on their roots and form little “nodules” on them. We love our many legumes, including white clover, sub clover, and this season especially, arrowleaf clover.
Arrowleaf is a late grower, taking advantage of wet springs like the one we are having now (95mm in the last 48hours!). It is upright (up to a metre), with a tough stem, and deep taproot. On a freely drained, deep gravel soil arrowleaf clover roots have extended beyond 1.5 m. Its an amazing soil builder and protector – with a biomass that helps smother summer weeds like catheads.
Its also quite hard seeded, which means the seeds will survive in the ground for long enough to regrow next year, even if it has been eaten by sheep (hence sheep can help spread it around too).
We have “Zulu” arrowleaf through out most of our vineyards, and we intend to spread it around more. Our front driveway paddock is full of it, so if it dries out enough, we hope to harvest some seed from it (as its a good old public variety). If you want some, just tell us in the comments box below and we’ll make sure you get some.