About the Benefits of Planting Sainfoin
This bean crop enriches the soil with nitrogenous substances and also improves its structure. For this reason, this forage crop is sown in front of all spring crops. When sown in the fields, sainfoin seeds are mixed with seeds of fescue, alfalfa, as well as clover. This method further enhances the nutritional value of the hay, and in the summer, other honey plants are added. If the area is arid, then sainfoin is sown in a mixture with wheatgrass.
Sainfoin has one feature that ensures its vitality – it’s very long roots. Their length can reach ten meters. They penetrate well into the soil and hold well even on stones. In the first year after sowing, the sainfoin develops one stem, only in the second or third years does it turn into a bush.
In terms of nutrient content, sainfoin is one of the first places among fodder herbs. 100 kg sainfoin contains 53.5 feed units, 15% crude protein, 7.8% digestible proteins.
Hay and green food are readily eaten by animals, and the use of fresh sainfoin with dew or in rainy weather does not cause tympanitis, as when feeding alfalfa.
Sainfoin is considered a good honey plant. Many beekeepers look for fields with sainfoin, especially if it is grown for seeds. Sainfoin honey has the color of light amber, it is transparent. The taste of this honey is very pleasant, and the aroma is delicate. Such honey is not sugared for a very long time. When sugared, very small crystals are formed. Honey acquires a creamy tint and the consistency becomes like fat. The honey collected by bees from sainfoin contains a lot of vitamin C, carotene, various enzymes, carbohydrates, as well as useful substances.
Sainfoin Growing Conditions
For beekeeping, as well as fodder culture, sainfoin of three types is grown. One of them is vine-leaved or sowing, the second is sandy and the third is Transcaucasian, abundantly blooming. The advantage of planting such a crop is that it grows even on soils that are considered infertile. When sowing on large areas or at home, it must be borne in mind that if the soil is acidic, then liming must be carried out before sowing.
Dry soils suitable for sowing sainfoin which there is a sufficient amount of lime. Carbonate chernozems of forest-steppes and steppes are most suitable for this. Light sandy clay soils are also suitable for sowing this type of sainfoin. Winter hardiness, as well as drought tolerance of this type of sainfoin, is commendable. If it is grown as a honey plant, then mowing is done after flowering.
As for the sainfoin, it is even more drought-resistant than the first species. This type of sainfoin is most often used when planting for honey collection.
It is characteristic of the Transcaucasian sainfoin that it can be mowed even twice a season. As a honey plant, it is very much appreciated by beekeepers.