One Milkweed to 38 Monarch Caterpillars

The ONLY plant that monarch caterpillars can eat is milkweed.  There are many varieties, so it’s best to buy the ones that are native to your area if you’re interested in helping the monarch butterflies reproduce.  It’s kind of like a science experiment in your yard.  I have learned things about these amazing creatures through seeing them live through their life cycle that I never knew before.  And it started with one plant.

Sure these little guys will start off tiny and within a matter of days double their size over and over.  In the process they will systematically eat every single leaf and flower off your milkweed.  But it’s okay.  Because milkweeds are built for this.  They will grow back.  And then a monarch or two will lay eggs on it again and it’ll get mowed again and it will again grow back.

So when my daughter and I counted 38 baby caterpillars on our ONE milkweed about a week ago, I knew they would run out of feasting material fast.  So I went to the nursery and bought 3 more plants.  Then 2 days later I bought 6 more.  And they were finally happy and fat and had had their fill of the buffet.  Whew!  It was then that I got worried.  They were lethargic and many had curled up.  I calmed my concerns with a quick internet search informing me that they do this before getting ready for their next stage in the chrysalis.

And then they started disappearing.  They were off to find their magic place to make their final transformation into a butterfly.  I managed to find 4 of them in a nearby tall bush called “pink breath of heaven”.  When they attach themselves to wherever they have chosen and form their “J” as my daughter likes to call it, they are C O M P L E T E L Y still.  Take a glimpse at the 3rd and 4th pictures below.  That’s the same caterpillar before and after the chrysalis.  And the time in between taking those shots today?  2 hours.  That’s it.  You can youtube a video of a time lapse of this process if you’re interested.  Pretty amazing.  Now we wait!

 

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Custom Designed Fabric Grow Pots

After finding out about fabric grow bags through other fellow vegetable gardeners, I tried them for myself and was blown away with the result.  I’ve grown the healthiest, most vigorous tomatoes and potatoes in these sturdy, felt-like pots, thanks to their superior drainage and ability to air-prune.  They can grow ANY vegetable or favorite plant!  Even still, I knew that these plain black grow bags could be improved upon-DESIGN!

I’ve taken the phenomenon one step further by creating an array of bright, fun and personalized designs for these hip grow bags. I use ECO Felt, made from 100% post-consumer recycled bottles, a soft fabric that is non-toxic, sustainable, fade-resistant and will not stain.  Thanks to my new eco-friendly garden designs, these fabric pots become a highlight of your garden.  Bountiful Backyard’s custom designed bags are available in my Etsy shop!

 Why These Containers Grow The Best Plants:

The felt-like, lightweight fabric pot has rigidity to hold its shape, may be stored folded flat and is reusable. The black fabric quickly warms up early season soil enabling plants to get off to a quicker start. Yet the same fabric, due to its porous nature, allows heat to escape from the container through evaporative cooling during the summer’s hottest days. Roots are never soggy like in traditional pots since the water is allowed to drain out of the bag. These containers have the unique ability to air-prune, which leads to a strong, healthy root structure.