by Girish Bhatt, EMGV
A few years ago, looking at my sunny backyard lawn, it occurred to me that a vegetable garden would do well here. It became a project that required manual labor and a budget — removing the grass, tilling and amending the soil, and fencing the area to keep the deer and rabbits away. Being an extension master gardener volunteer intern helped me learn how to complete this project.
Since then my family and I have enjoyed growing a variety of produce for our kitchen as well as for our neighbors and friends. Last year, we planted the common milkweed and the butterfly weed in this garden (Asclepias spp,). This transformed our small garden into a way station for the migrating monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) on their way to over winter in Cerro Pelon, Mexico.
At the beginning of September, we saw a few monarch butterflies flitting around the milkweeds and just a few days later we saw caterpillars. We recorded the progress of the caterpillars in the series of photographs presented below.
These pictures were taken between September 5 and September 21, 2018. Hopefully, next year we can add photos of the eggs to this collection.
More information about the migration of this endangered species and creating a habitat can be found at the following websites:
Credit for all photos: Girish Bhatt