Preparing for the Big Planting

Heather looking over the site plan with UC Master Gardener Ron Allen and Mariposa Native Plants co-owner Bev Andalora.

It is Sunday February 2, months away from planting day, but there is much still to prepare. Ron and Bev arrived in the morning so we could identify some milkweed sites. We went over the site plan, and walked along the arroyo and little creek choosing good locations. The site plan will not only be useful for planning, but I will need it for grants I plan to write on work on with other stakeholders. I decided to go for it big! I plan to scale the growing sites as large as my financial capacity can accommodate. If I am able to attract more grants, I can expand the number of plots throughout my acreage and the properties of other interested people. Together, we can make a large area attractive to Monarchs to raise their young and rebuild their populations.

Heather planting one of the deer grass plants.

This morning, I also planted some of the deer grass I purchased from the Tuolumne Mi-Wuk Native Plant Nursery last month. I planted some close to the house so I can monitor their progress and to test the gopher screen I purchased.

The gopher screen I hope will work.

The screen I found is stainless steel. It is a bit stretchy and does not stick up outside the ground as firmly as I think may be needed. But – we will see how they do. We really need to find a solution that will give the native plants a fighting chance when not planed near moist ground.

Deer grass in the new gopher screen.

As visible in the image above, the screen is a bit flimsy when sticking out of the topsoil. It curls over a bit too. It was not easy to ensure that the screens were able to be above ground. I had to do much straightening.

I am so excited about this project and grateful to be a small part of what I hope will help the monarchs. In Mexico, where some of the monarchs over-winter, two men who started butterfly preserves were found murdered. They were working to protect this critical species from wholesale exploitation by area logging interests and avocado growers. They paid for this selfless and crucial service benefiting us all with their lives. Why is greed so powerful?! Why can’t industry work to scale harmoniously with Native uses? This is why responsible regulation is necessary to help ensure that some balance is achieved. Without it, we are making our world worse, unhealthy and eventually, unlivable for our children. Read the story here:

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