Wild about Monarchs. Save the Monarch Butterfly!
Encourage planting of milkweed to restore the monarch butterfly habitat and migration corridors. Fund milkweed education and research.
Wild about Monarchs. Save the Monarch Butterfly!
***Milkweed Monarchy is a proud member of the Wilds Cooperative of PA***
Milkweed Monarchy is a proud member of The Wilds Cooperative of PA, rural PA's largest network of creative entrepreneurs. The WCO program is made possible by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to integrate conservation and economic development in a way that strengthens and inspires communities in the Pennsylvania Wilds by helping to promote businesses and artisans whose products and services add to their overall experience of the region. Together, our organizations are helping to both tell the broad story of the Pennsylvania Wilds and emphasize stewardship of our natural environment.
Milkweed on a Mission - So why should you be interested in growing milkweed? It’s so that you can be a part of saving the monarch butterfly, an important pollinator insect. The mission of this project is to encourage planting of milkweed to restore the monarch butterfly habitat and migration corridors and to fund milkweed education and research.
It is essential to protect pollinating insects such as the monarch butterfly for the commercial growing of fruits and vegetables. More than 90% of all plants need a pollinator to distribute pollen necessary for reproduction. Without pollinators, our food supply could be in jeopardy. By supporting this campaign, you are doing your part in helping rescue the monarch butterfly.
We hope to continue to encourage the planting of milkweed plots and develop additional uses for the milkweed plant. You can help the monarch butterfly by planting milkweed plots around your house, yard, buildings and roadways. The common milkweed variety (Asclepias syriaca) is used because its broad native range across the continental United States and Canada. The native range of common milkweed is in hardiness zones 3 through 9. We offer a variety of items in our campaign:
Rewards 2, 5 & 7 – Seed Balls
Milkweed seed/clay mixture encapsulates 10-12 seeds (Asclepias syriaca). The clay protects the seeds from rodents during the germination stage. In addition 500 seeds will be donated in your name to the Monarch Watch organization that uses donated seeds in their milkweed restoration program.
Reward 3 – T-Shirt Variety Pack
Uniquely designed T-Shirt with Milkweed Monarchy logo. Sizes Small through XXL available. Size is specified during backer fulfillment process. In addition 500 seeds will be donated in your name to the Monarch Watch organization that uses donated seeds in their milkweed restoration program. Also included: - One packet of Milkweed Seeds (Asclepias syriaca), Quantity 200 seeds. - One packet of Milkweed Seed Balls (Asclepias syriaca), Quantity 9 seed balls. - One Seed Separation Kit (Paper bag, 3x milkweed pods, instructions)
Rewards 4 & 6 – Sow Fun Classroom Seed Separation Kit
Milkweed seed separation kit consisting of 3 milkweed pods in a paper bag with instructions for separating floss and seeds from pod (Asclepias syriaca). In addition 500 seeds will be donated in your name to the Monarch Watch organization that uses donated seeds in their milkweed restoration program.
Reward 1 - Donation Only Level
Lastly, those who do not have the ability to plant milkweed have the opportunity to make a donation. In the donation reward level, 500 seeds will be donated to the Monarch Watch in your name.
Everyone can help the monarch butterfly - from a eco-minded large-scale crop farmer, to a pesticide free organic farmer, to teachers with classroom gardening projects, to a container gardener, to a gardening enthusiast that appreciates and wants to support the campaign.
Thanks for your support!
Amy and Jeff
Planting and Plant Care
The ideal time to plant milkweed seeds is the fall or winter, so cold and wet conditions will stimulate germination (known as cold stratification). If planting in late spring, placing the clusters in the refrigerator in a wet paper towel for a week will improve germination. The planting directions are simple:
1. Choose fast-draining soil. Most sunny locations will work. Along houses and fence lines are ideal since they are out of the way of mowing.
2. Dig small holes at 18 inch intervals. (no need to dig up entire plot - the Milkweed plant will eventually grow faster than grass and most weeds)
3. Water regularly until seeds germinate. After plants begin growing, further watering is necessary only in the driest conditions.
Common Milkweed Range
Please see green areas for the range of the common milkweed variety. If you are not in a green state, consult www.plantmilkweed.org for the milkweed variety native to your state. Other varieties will be offer for sale at online stores such as www.americanmeadows.com.
What’s cool about the milkweed plant is that it requires minimal care. Once the roots are developed, milkweed will come back year after year. Flowers and pods develop normally after the first year. It is easy to control simply by mowing around the boarder of your plot.
Butterfly/Caterpillar Food and Seeds
Once your plot is established, flowers will blossom in early summer and will attract the Monarch Butterfly and other pollinator insects such as the honey bee. Soon you will discover tiny yellow and black caterpillars that will quickly grow by eating the Milkweed leaves. In a couple of weeks, the Monarch chrysalis will form. About ten days later, the Monarch Butterfly will emerge, find a mate and eggs will be laid on the Milkweed to start a new generation. Later in the summer, pods will form on the Milkweed plant and the leaves will no longer regenerate.
Around the first frost, the milkweed pods will begin to split and release the seeds that float in the air on strands of floss. We recommend that the pods be collected before seeds are released, so unwanted milkweed plant propagation will not occur. Most farmers to not want the milkweed plant growing in their fields. Please be considerate of your neighbors! The seeds can be separated from the pods by shaking the seeds and floss in a bag. The seeds then can be planted or donated to organizations such as Monarch Watch. This organization accepts donated seeds and uses them in their milkweed restoration project. The milkweed floss has excellent insulation properties and can be used to stuff pillows. The empty pods are popular with craft enthusiasts for making wreaths and other items.
In the fall, the final generation of the Monarch Butterfly migrates each year to Mexico from the northern parts of the U.S. and Canada.
During the migration monarch butterfly depends on pollinator plants, like Milkweed, for food. Three to four generations are required to complete the northern return trip in the spring. The butterflies breed and lay eggs only on milkweed plants on the way back north.
The eggs hatch into caterpillars and one month later, they turn into butterflies and continue their migration north.
Decline of Milkweed through Pesticides
The increased use of “Round Up” ready crops has decimated the milkweed plant along with the Monarch butterfly – 90% reduction over the last 20 years. Farmers spray their fields with weed killer which kills all plants, then grow genetically engineered crops that are resistant to the weed killer.
Crop yield is increased, but at the expense of the health of the environment. By planting Milkweed plots, we can help restore milkweed and the Monarch caterpillar to a sustainable level.
We hope you consider funding this campaign to help the Monarch Butterfly. We will be filling orders in time for the ideal fall/winter planting time. Thanks for your help!
Risks and challenges
Growing our own milkweed plants make us vulnerable to weather and other conditions that may limit our seed harvest. Fortunately, we have multiple native seed producers in Pennsylvania available to supply our needs.
Another risk is becoming overwhelmed with Kickstarter orders. Fortunately, we have many friends who would help out in that situation. Actually our hope is to have a large quantity of orders so we can build our organization to help in the restoration of habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)