Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

Monarch Butterfly Babies in My Garden

On her blog, this week, A Way to Garden, Margaret Roach asks where all the Monarch butterflies have gone.

I fear I must confess.  I think many of them came to my house for the dill buffet that is growing in one of my raised beds.

Monarch butterfly larvae love dill.

Dill with a side order of Monarch butterfly larvae.

I didn’t raise dill just for them.  In fact, I let my dill self seed.  This year, two big dill plants on the ends of my raised beds came and went and left a ton of seeds on their umbrels. I saved about 5o seeds so that next year, I could plant the dill where I wanted it to come up and never thought a thing about the other 500 seeds that the big plants had dropped to the ground.

Monarchs love to eat dill.

Monarch larvae side by side in my dill.

Then, about 6 weeks ago, I noticed a forest of tiny, soft dill fronds sprouting up in the ground where the old plants had been.  I thought about pulling them up but then I noticed butterflies landing on the plants and I wondered if they were laying eggs.  They were.

On this sunny, September afternoon, there are dozens and dozens of larvae, mowing down dill and contemplating when they want to pupate.   I expect to see a whole bunch of yellow-green chrysillises in the spring.

Monarch butterfly larva feasting in my dill bed.

Monarch butterfly larva in the dill.

So here, in eastern Pennsylvania, I am doing my bit to help Monarchs flourish.  I left the dill and I have planted a bed of milkweed, one of the butterfly’s favorites.  But I know that these butterflies are suffering.

So, here is Margaret Roach’s expert on Monarchs, their plight and what all of us can do to help.  precarious time for monarchs and their migration – A Way to Garden.

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When Gardens Go Bad

I went on a family vacation.  My garden was still producing but not a whole lot.  So, I didn’t expect much.

I was in for a surprise!  While I was away, my cucumbers decided to play!  There were 5 cukes that were 14 inches long and almost 3 inches in diameter.  Really, look at the size of them — dwarfing my 5 quart mixer and towering over my salt and pepper grinders!

Big, sweet cucumbers.

My cukes grew huge while I was on vaca.

When I cut into them, I expected dry centers and mealy flesh but these were oh so sweet!     I couldn’t believe it!  One cucumber was enough for dinner for two adults.

But the cukes weren’t the only veggies to go berserk!

My pole beans grew up and over the 8 foot fence section I put in place for them.  And then they kept on growing.

I didn’t have pole beans; I had a green bean jungle!

Pole beans growing and growing.

The pole beans created a green bean jungle.

I could not believe how dense the growth was.  The vines twisted, turned and knotted themselves together to form a mat of green bean greenery that could not be penetrated!

It’s mid-September in Pennsylvania and I am madly picking green beans, roasting them,

Rampaging pole beans overrun my fence.

Pole beans gone wild.

making them into green bean slaw and eating them raw.

I love green beans but I already have 32 quarts canned and in the pantry.  And I think if another green bean hits my husband’s plate, he may just divorce me!

And I’m still picking cucumbers!  What a whacky gardening year this has been.

Anyone interested in learning more about organic gardening?  My book — Grow So Easy; Organic Gardening for the Rest of Us is available on Kindle!  I’ve gotten some good reviews and would love to know what you folks think!