Among the varieties of plants and legumes that can be grown in the garden, lupin is a hardy and resistant legume of which the generous flowering is made up of tight and erect clusters. These range in size from 20 inches to over 3 feet (50 cm to over 1 metre), adapting to flower beds and wild gardens. It is grown for decorative purposes and consumption but also for its ecological and biological benefits. Europe is conducive to its culture.

There are three varieties of lupin. White lupin adapts well to French soil, yellow lupin is grown in Central Europe and the blue variety in Australia. Growing blue lupin in France is still possible, especially in Brittany and Upper Normandy. White and blue lupins do not require any debittering treatment because of their low alkaloid content.

Method for planting and growing lupins

Lupins can be grown on any ground, even on rocky land. Sowing should be done on warm soil, so from mid / late March until late April. During planting, and to ensure better ground cover, sow 3 seeds per hole. The holes are spaced out by 6.5 inches (17 cm) and should be 3/4 to 4/3 of an inch deep (2-3 cm) in normal conditions and 1/3 to 3/4 of an inch (1 to 2 cm) in difficult ones. To favour the propagation of clumps, it is recommended to create small tufts made up of 3 to 4 seedling per m². To rejuvenate them, perform a division every 4 or 5 years. If grown in a container, it is necessary to use a wide and deep receptacle. Otherwise, make a hole in the ground in which the pot will be laid down, taking care to leave its edges slightly sticking out.

Maintenance of lupins

Lupins are easy to grow and reseed themselves on their own. However, they must be cared for. For example, mulching their base is necessary in summer. In addition, keep a cool soil and water thoroughly at night in case of high heat. The lupine is sensitive to weeds and invasive plants. It is therefore advisable to use certified seeds in addition to subjecting them to post-sowing treatment. Resorting to the use of a spring-tooth drag harrow will be necessary during several stages of growth: during pre-emergence if the minimum planting depth is 4/3 of an inch (3 cm), at the 2 leaf stage, and at the 4-5 leaf stage if the flowers are 4 inches (10 cm) tall. For a culture with a spacing of more than 8 inches (20 cm), hoeing is possible at the 2 leaf stage for 12-inch (30 cm) tall plants. At the beginning of growth, when the plants reaches over 6 inches (15 cm) in height, one must combine the use of the spring-tooth drag harrow with hoeing.

Lupin is certainly hardy, making fungicides and insecticides unnecessary, but it may be affected by anthracnose, Botryotinia and sclerotinia rot. Pests such as slugs, roe deers, hares, leaf weevils and aphids also attack lupin. For the latter, just spray water mixed with soft soap or use a detergent-like fungicide to stifle them. Subsequently, cut off the infected stems. Then, in case of fungal diseases, resort to treatment using an Amistar fungal solution, in a proportion equivalent to 10.95 fl. oz./ acre (0.8 L / ha). Flowering is possible not only in summer, but also in autumn if the wilted stalks are progressively cut off.

Lupin, an agricultural product

Lupine seeds are rich in protein, its content reaching 36 to 37% on clean and dry seeds, it is well-suited for feeding animals. The maximum rations are as follows: 10% or 5.358 lbs (2 kg) / day for cattle, 5% for pigs and 30% for hens. In addition, lupin put acid soils to good use by fixing nitrogen from the air and can therefore be used as fodder or green manure. Manufacturers use it as an organic emulsifier in the bread production industry as it makes up for the lack of lysine in wheat flour. Finally, lupin can serve as a substitute for eggs for those allergic to them.

Lupins can be grown on stony soils and require a sunny spot that is partially shaded. For a good harvest, the soil must be free of hardpan before planting, reconsolidated, slightly lumpy, with no perennial dicotyledons and without active limestone. If soil’s pH is 6.5 to 7, and if this is the first time planting occurs, inoculation is recommended. 40 to 50 units of phosphoric acid and 80 to 120 units of potash should be enough to fertilize the ground.

Lupin harvest takes place between early August and mid September and should be done in the morning in case of drought. During this phase, lupin is said to mature. It is completely dry, all the leaves have fallen and the seeds rattle like bells in their pods. The optimal humidity level is 13 to 16% for seeds to be dried and 14% for those needing to be stored. The yield is from 22 to 42 qx/ ha in agricultural conditions

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Published in Summer flowers by Alexander on 30 Aug 2011