9-30-19 Plant Update

Gopher hole in the middle of a basket.

There has been some attrition. Mostly, some of the plants just transferred hard and never grew. In three other cases, there were some preventable errors. An industrious gopher got through one of our homemade baskets and got a milkweed (see above photo). Ron (The UC Master Gardener milkweed expert) thought the gophers would not like the bitter taste of the plant and leave them alone. Unfortunately, the gopher not only tasted the roots, but the entire plant disappeared! To Ron’s credit, he wanted us to use gopher baskets “just in case”. This probably prevented more loss. Thanks Ron! In another case, I drowned a plant after leaving the rainwater hose on too long. Finally, as described in my last post, a friendly cow came along and attempted to graze a plant – then spit it back out. Although I replanted, I am not sure it will survive.

Some great news: I found some growth on one of the plants that transferred hard and never grew. That was exciting – although it decided to grow just as the season is winding down and the leaves will begin to drop (see the photo below). A main lesson from this is to keep watering. I kept watering all of the plants/basket areas even if they looked dead or had disappeared.

New growth at the base of a milkweed stem.

Below are the planting plot maps I created with dark gray cells for those I’ve lost – or at least think I’ve lost. I give a status on some of the plants.


Overall, I am happy. I knew there would be some attrition, but had hoped it would be minimal. Cannot wait to see if the butterflies choose to have babies in these patches!

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