I am inviting anyone to join me in growing milkweed to help the monarch butterflies. This blog post is about what you can do now to save seed to grow your own milkweed. I will be saving milkweed seed for those who cannot save their own and mailing it out. Together we can all go through the process of growing milkweed plants to help the butterflies, bees and other pollinators that are essential to our life here on earth. They make our food grow, bring us beauty and joy, and are also an essential part of the ecosystem. Read on to learn action steps you can take right now.
The season is ripe to look for milkweed here in Eastern Connecticut. Milkweed flowers shine purple in the sun atop three-foot tall plants, scenting the air with their delicate fragrance, and humming with the sound of the bees at work. Record your milkweed sightings using GPS, or if you can, mark the plants with a flag or ribbon. You will want to return to them in the fall to collect seeds, when the plants will have withered up and possibly become overgrown by taller plants.
The plants are easily visible now. Go out and mark some plants. Below are some pictures of the milkweed growing here at Sterling Organic Farm so you know what to look for. If you are unsure if you have found milkweed, break off a leaf and you will see the characteristic milky white sap.
You will see the milkweed blooms undergo a mesmerizing transformation as you check on them every few weeks. The flowers will give way to bumpy green seed pods brimming with potential, as hundreds of seeds develop inside. When the seed pods have turned golden brown, open one to check on the seeds inside. They should be dark brown and abundant if the seeds are mature. If not, keep checking on them every few days until they are ready to harvest. Allow your harvested seed pods to dry in a brown paper bag, and then store in a cool dark place. Sealing the seeds in a glass or plastic container inside of your refrigerator or freezer, if you have room, is ideal. A closet or drawer works as well.
The process of growing the milkweed plants will begin in winter or spring, depending on your chosen method. Click here to read about the three different methods of growing milkweed.
I will be collecting milkweed seeds this autumn and then growing them this winter. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be on my milkweed growing email list where I will send out updates about the seed harvesting and growing process. We can all grow milkweed together and compare notes as we work to save our pollinators.
Show your love of bees and support our pollinator-friendly farm with this adorable tote bag. We also have this image on a coffee mug and t-shirts. Click the picture below to shop now.
The dress below is for sale on our website. Proceeds support our pollinator-friendly certified organic farm. The dress prominently features images of monarch butterflies and other pollinators.