So, several months back, I applied for a grant from monarchwatch.org. They are an organization that promotes conservation geared towards perpetuating the natural habitats of monarch butterflies. If you have 2 acres or more to devote to the project, you can apply for free milkweed plants! My application was approved and I received 4 flats containing 164 total plants!
Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed)
Asclepias syriaca (Common milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)
Asclepias verticillata (Whorled milkweed)
The plants arrived on May 9, and I let them harden off for a week – 10 days before I planted any.
As of today, I have all of the incarnate in the ground, and several of the tuberose and verticillate planted as well. I plan on documenting the progress of the project here as the season goes on. Watch for photos and updates!
I normally start my seeds on Valentine’s Day, but this year I did it on March 1. Not sure the significance of this, but it seemed like a good time to start them. AND, I had the help of Snow White, so, I’m pretty much ensured 100% germination, I think!
The past two years have been a bust for my garden. 2012 we moved to a new home… right at the start of the growing season. I tried to get something going here at the new house as far as a garden goes, but it was consumed (and I mean CONSUMED) by Canada Thistle. I even put a weed barrier down, and this thistle burst through it. RIDICULOUS!!
I decided to just write it off and look ahead to 2013. Our good friends who run Shared Legacy Farms brought over a load of compost and a tractor with a BIG tiller behind it. The garden was tilled DEEP and the soil amended with the great compost. Everything looked great for a wonderful season of growing! I got the garden planted, and then a few weeks later, I noticed some Canada Thistle starting to pop up. So, I decided to carefully spray some herbicide on them… well, I wasn’t careful enough. 🙁 The whole garden started to curl up and within a week or to, everything was dead.
I spent the rest of 2013 tilling and amending the soil. I bought a wonderful rear-tine tiller and THINK I did a good job making the soil healthy and weed free for this season. In the fall, I planted a cover crop of buckwheat in the garden and let it flower and then just let it sit when the frost hit it.
This winter has been the harshest EVER recorded in NW Ohio. The combination of cold and snow has never been seen before. We’ve gotten over 6 feet of snow and have set about a half-dozen record low temperatures. It’ll be interesting to see how things even out come growing season!!
Well, germination has been underwhelming thus far this year. Luckily I’ve got some live plants coming from Cross Country Nurseries that will fill that gap.
I did receive an envelope in the mail marked “photos” today from The Chilli Pepper Company in the UK though… and it contained 4 more varieties of seeds!! So, I’m going to see if I can get them started. They’re in the starting medium and getting some bottom-heat already! Fingers are crossed, because these are some pretty great varieties! Here’s what I got (10 seeds of each):
Naga Morich – Direct from Nagaland… supposedly part of the “original” strain
Ring of Fire – A freebie they sent along
Trinidad Scorpion – A serious contender for “World’s Hottest Pepper” depending on how it’s grown and who is doing the testing!