Today i began my adventure in being a farmer of milkweed. Although it might be more likely to call myself a farmer actually growing milkweed. I can remember as a kid hearing the tales of how horrible milkweed was. I remember some growing near the little barn and how it would get our hands all milky white when we pulled it when we would be gathering flowers for out bouquets. Little did I know that in less than 50 years, i would actually be longing for the days to see milkweed like that growing so freely in the South. Nor would I have ever dreamed that I would be living on the Monterey Peninsula and loving every minute of it. But that i another story for another time.
So after moving to a home in upper Carmel Valley, I did the distance from the Sanctuary and we are a little less than 10 miles from the Pacific Grove Monarch Sanctuary. However, because we are at east five degrees warmer or more than the along the coast itself and there is lots of land to plant lots of milkweed, I think the monarchs will be ok. After spending hours watching various youtube videos, Xerces, Monarch Joint Venture, Monarch Alert, and so forth, i feel that I can monitor my milkweed to make sure there are not too many eggs or cats on one plant by transplanting to other plants if needed.
I know from having pet/house sitting for my landlady for several summers, that monarchs do come through here. So I am trying to have milkweed plants in the ground by Feb so that as the monarchs leave Pacific Grove, they could find the milkweed.
Below is a picture of the hot water soaking of the seeds that i did in order to help with any stratification that the seeds might need. I followed the monarch
For 24 hours the soaked in warm water. Then the next day I planted them in six packs of soil that have plastic tops to help with retention of water and another plastic bottom that the six packs sit in so that the seedlings can be watered from the bottom. I have lots of natural light coming in through the windows of my room. And i got a warming mat to help raise the temps for earlier seed eruption.
Now we wait 7-10 days to see if anything comes up.
Oh, i got the seeds from the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. The seed packets does not say what types are in the packet but they are native to this area. I also bought packets of native nectar plants that i will be planting once these guys do not need the warm mats. My land lady has lots of nectar plants but i would love the think I could keep monarchs coming all the breeding season plus be a way station area when they are migrating through or coming to the sanctuary to overwinter. At the least, the bees and hummers will love having more plants anyway.