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In recent years there’s been a concerted effort to reinvigorate the Monarch Butterfly population. One of the best ways to do so is to harvest and spread different species of milkweed, a plant Monarch Butterflies thrive on. However, it’s crucial that between the harvesting and planting of the seeds that they are stored appropriately. If stored incorrectly, the rate of germination can drastically decrease and you’ll have to wait until next spring to try for a new crop.
Then, firmly grip the base just above the seed. I do it so that the bottom edge of my fingers is in contact with the seed. With your other hand, gently peel the pod like a banana until it reaches your fingers. Next, firmly grip the feathers and pull.
You can store the seed in envelopes, paper bags, or even plastic bags if the seed was fully dry. A good portion of the seed will be viable for several years after harvest. Alternatively, you can plant the seed directly into the garden if you like. That is a low maintenance method for saving milkweed seeds.
The population of the Monarch Butterfly has been declining for years. The best way to help them is to increase the number of milkweed plants. Propagating them in your garden is one great way to give them a stop over place to get nectar and lay eggs. The milkweeds native to North America are the primary hosts for Monarch Caterpillars. They lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed (Asclepias). The best way to help these species is to plant milkweed, plant milkweed, and plant more milkweed!
4 – Open the pods, remove the fluff (or feathers, floss – everyone seems to have a different name)
I thought now would be an appropriate time to share my method for how to save milkweed seeds cleanly, without making a mess of the feathers / silk that are in the pods. This guide will show you how simple it is to not make your garage/house/basement look like an exploded pillow factory when harvesting milkweed seed. It works great, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the best method to save Milkweed seed (Asclepias).
Take a pod, and identify the base and top. You will be able to feel the seed through the pod, and the top will have no seed (just feathers).
Then, just open up the rest of the pod. You should have all seed and no fluff. Pour the seed onto a plate to dry for a week or two in a cool dry location. Or just use a paper bag that is open to the environment.
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