I have some milkweed seeds that I’d be glad to share. The seeds are Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica.
Plant the seed so it is slightly covered and keep warm and moist to start. If you start these inside, you can get a a head start on spring. Plant when all danger of frost is gone – usually around May 1st in St. Louis Missouri.
Another option is to plant the seeds in the soil and let them come up naturally.
You can pick these up at Saturday’s presentation – March 3rd – 1 p.m. at Whitecliff Recreation Center – Crestwood, Missouri.
OR – please send a SASE – Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to:
Free Milkweed Seeds
9016 Robyn Rd
St. Louis, MO 63126
The best way to start these seeds is with bottom heat.
80 degrees and seeds slightly covered seems to be the best. I did put the plastic top on this to keep in the heat and moisture.
While most of my emphasis is on growing specific plants for butterflies, there are many other insects and birds which I enjoy. Unfortunately, numbers seem to be decreasing every year. Here is a good video on what we can all do to bring nature back to our yards.
With winter and Christmas just around the corner, one of the last thing on most people’s mind is to get out the hose to water the plants and trees. Yet in Missouri with most of the state in drought conditions, that may be just what is needed.
A recent MU bulletin told people to check their soil around the drip line of newly planted trees and if dry then watering would be beneficial.
This would also be true of fall planted perennials.
A soaker hose set on low would probably be your best bet.
My guess is that established trees and natives will weather the drought just fine, but if you have invested money in a fall planting, those perennials and trees would probably appreciate a through soaking and may be the difference between them surviving the winter or dying in the spring.
Here’s the link for the Missouri drought monitor.
With the first frosts of fall, my garden turns from a lovely shade of green to a dirty brown with withered sticks and leaves. While my first inclination is to clean up everything, there may be seeds that you can collect or even save for the birds.
Here’s a good video which talks about some of your options.
One of my late season observations was that my hummingbird feeders were attracting painted lady butterflies and bees. Since the hummingbirds were gone, I took off the top of one of my feeders and put in some plastic landing pads.
As you can see above, butterflies and bees are both attracted to this feeder. I am still using the 1 to 4 ratio of sugar to water. The bees will drink the liquid within an hour.
As you can see in the video below, it does get rather busy, but the bees paid no attention to me and were not aggressive at all.
Here’s your chance to get up close and personal with Monarch butterflies.
Tom Terrific is hosting a tagging party where you will learn how to tag a Monarch and send it off on it’s trip to Mexico.
This party is mainly for kids, but adults are welcome also.
Date – Sunday – October 1st
Time – 1 – 4 p.m.
Place: 9016 Robyn Rd. 63126
You can park at the school.
Come around to the back yard.
Below is some more information on tagging the Monarchs.
The topic of disinfecting Monarch eggs was brought up recently in one of the blogs I follow. This is the process of dipping the eggs in a bleach and water solution for a short period of time to get rid of the OE parasite which some Monarchs have. To test for this disease you would need a microscope.
I asked Monarch Watch about this and here is their answer below. The short answer is that they don’t do this normally.
As you can see from the video, they are raising what appears to be thousands of monarch caterpillars. They are probably bleaching the eggs to avoid an OE outbreak. We only bleach eggs if we know that there is a potential for an OE outbreak from a particular monarch female and we need the eggs. All of our monarch adults are tested for OE prior to egg-laying, so we never have outbreaks.
You may find that the instructions found here are sufficient for raising a small number of monarchs: https://monarchjointventure.org/images/uploads/documents/Monarch_Rearing_Instructions.pdf
You may also want to consider participating in citizen science projects such as these:
The Monarch Health Project through the University of Georgia: http://www.monarchparasites.org/
Or, the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project if you are observing wild populations: http://mlmp.org/default.aspx
Below is more information on OE.