CRIMSON CLOVER. 97
Habits of growth: Being a resident of southern Europe, it is evident that Crimson Clover likes a warm climate. When found wild, it is a so-called winter annual; that is, the seeds germinate in the fall or during the summer and the young plants reach full development relatively early the following season. In Canada only the southern parts of British Columbia are mild enough to insure the plants living through the winter. Even in southwestern Ontario the returns from late-sown seed are uncertain. It is therefore the general practice to sow Crimson Clover early in spring and harvest the crop the same season. Although it requires a warm climate and is able to make a surprisingly good growth in sandy soil, Crimson Clover cannot endure severe drought. It does well in light soil that can be irrigated during the growing season.
Agricultural value: Crimson Clover has a high nutritive value and can be used for either hay or pasture. It is valuable for soiling purposes in short rotations and in orchards, as the green matter produced is heavy and the roots penetrate deep into the ground.
Fodder: Crimson Clover hay is readily eaten by all kinds of farm animals and is claimed to be especially suitable for those doing heavy work. Like other clovers, it has its highest nutritive value when in flower and should not be cut for hay later than in full bloom. The blossoms are provided with a great number of rather long hairs, soft and harmless before the plant has reached the flowering stage. When it blossoms these hairs become stiff and may cause serious indigestion. Experience has therefore shown that it is advisable to cut Crimson Clover a little earlier than in full bloom. Harvesting may be done in the same way as for Red Clover.
Pasture: Where the winters are mild enough to allow Crimson Clover to be sown late in the summer, it can be pastured the same fall and then early next spring. Where the climate, as in south-western Ontario, makes spring sowing necessary, pasturing must be limited to one season. In those sections of Ontario where Crimson Clover is grown, it is commonly used as pasture for hogs. Fifteen to twenty pounds of seed should be used to the acre.
Seed: As Crimson Clover plants produce a great number of heads, containing numerous blossoms, a large amount of seed is generally developed. Favourable weather, however, is necessary during harvesting, as the quality of the seed is affected by rain. The seeds are easily shed and it is therefore advisable to cut when the heads are wet with dew, to handle the crop with the utmost care