About Canadian Milk Vetch: This member of the nitrogen-fixing legume family can be found in a wide range of habitats, from dry prairies to marshy ground and riverbanks. In the wild, its growth has been decreasing and it has been placed on the threatened list in several states. Because of its hardy growth and adaptability, this plant makes a good choice for erosion control or prairie restoration.Though the entire plant can be toxic to humans, cattle and deer sometimes eat the foliage while the abundant seeds provide winter food for songbirds.
Canadian Milk Vetch Germination: For fall planting, direct sow the seed 1/2" deep; it will remain dormant until spring. Before spring planting, scarify by pouring hot water over the seed and soaking it for 24 hours; direct sow the seed 1/2" deep. Germination may be irregular and slow, but should take place within 4-8 weeks. Germination may be improved by mixing the scarified seed with moist sand and storing it in the refrigerator for 10 days before planting. This plant does not transplant well and should not be started indoors. This plant adapts to almost any kind of soil including sand or clay, but prefers moderately moist conditions and full sun; it cannot tolerate shade.
Growing Canadian Milk Vetch Seeds: Seedlings should be watered regularly, while mature plants may only need water in dry periods. Since this plant develops rather slowly, it may not bloom until its second year of growth. Unless it has competition, it can become rather aggressive once established. The blossoms attract hummingbirds, butterflies, honeybees and bumblebees.
Harvesting Canadian Milk Vetch: These attractive flower spikes make wonderful cut flowers. Cut the stems near ground level to allow for new growth.
Saving Canadian Milk Vetch Seeds: After flowering, the plant will produce brown, bean-like pods. Strip the pods from the stalk when the seed inside reaches its mature brown or black color. Thresh to separate the seeds from their pods. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Canadian Milk Vetch Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Rattle Vetch, Milk Vetch, Little Rattlepod Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 24-48 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 16,500 Produces 1-2” oval, dark green compound leaflets and spikes of tubular, creamy yellow blossoms.