Moved On To Spring Creek

Site #8 is complete with two narrowleafs, five showy milkweeds and one yerba santa

Yesterday, May 24th, was a big day. We finally ventured away from the conveniently located sites near the house to the more distant Spring Creek site #8. We felt comfortable planting this site in May, before the summer, because the site is near water. Anything we plant before the summer, will need to be watered at least once per week throughout the dry months. Without a drip system, this will mean significant labor to haul water to each plant. The small spring on the creek has been running continuously for the last three years. With the death of a number of oaks along the creek and nearby, we anticipate we will have some above surface moisture throughout the year this year as well.

In addition to Site #8, we also planted Site #7 with deer grass for embankment support. We will add milkweed and nectar plants this Fall or next Spring. The digging is already extremely difficult, even near the creeks. The soil drys out quickly here as Spring transitions to Summer.

Site #7 deer grass plantings on the embankment
Site #7 close up of deer grass plantings

We will be working on installing an electric fence to keep the cattle out of this area once they return. The fence will be intermittently on. This will provide the opportunity for the plants to establish, move the cattle trail further away from the creek to prevent erosion and soil intrusion into the waterway, and give any incubating monarch larva the time they need to mature into butterflies. The grazing will be adapted to the breeding timeline. Once breeding is over, the fence will be turned off and opened so cattle can graze the area. Using this practice, we are also hoping to increase the chances for the native milkweeds and nectar plants to compete with the non-native grasses that grow at a much faster rate.

My generous husband, David Raboy, who dug most of the holes for me and assisted me with planting and watering for this site.
David tries a technique to get water from the creek, but it is too slow going. The best practice is to find a deep spot and dip the bucket in. After planting, the plants need at least 1/2 gallon of water to get moisture deep into their root structure.

We made our first Facebook live video to acquaint people with this project and let them know what they can do to help the monarchs. The video is fairly bad technically; we kept losing the internet signal. However, if you stick with it, you will see the steps to successful planting and be treated to gorgeous bird songs. Here is the link to the Facebook video. We will do a better job next time.

We are done with planting milkweeds for the year. Although we will likely plant some additional nectar plants, most of the summer will be monitoring the plantings, watering and planning for the Fall.

We received .75″ of rain a week ago. That little bit of late rain allowed for some additional wildflowers to bloom. It also helped the milkweed from the test plots to re-emerge. Enjoy the photo gallery below.

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