Collect milkweed pods for monarchs

By Anna Smith - Preble SWCD Outreach Coordinator

EATON — Preble Soil and Water Conservation District is once again participating in a statewide milkweed pod collection program. Milkweed is the only host plant for Monarch butterfly egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs, as well as many other pollinator species. Seeds collected through the milkweed pod collection will be used to establish new plantings across the state to help the Monarch and other pollinators, which have suffered drastic decline in recent years. Last year, volunteers from around the state collected 200 pounds of milkweed pods, totaling over 19 million seeds.

Milkweed pods will be ready to harvest between now and October. To determine when pods are mature, wait until they are dry and brown or grey. Ideally, they should be collected before splitting open. If they pop open when squeezed gently, they are ready to harvest. Store pods in paper bags and label them with the date of collection and county. Do not use plastic bags because they retain moisture. Store seeds in a cool, dry place.

Pods may be dropped off at the SWCD Office, located at 1651 N. Barron St., Eaton, located between TSC and China Wok. A collection bin is available through October 30 in the front lobby which is open 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

By Anna Smith

Preble SWCD Outreach Coordinator