Last fall, the monarch caterpillars absolutely devoured our milkweed plant. Granted, it was a tall drink of nectar but we were thrilled to have lots of monarch mamas lay eggs on it. Nothing excited the kids while they were playing outside than seeing the graceful glide and shadow of the monarchs floating towards the monarch garden.
Due to these voracious appetites, we had to supplement with butternut squash. Yep, in the later instars (instars are caterpillar life stages) the caterpillars will munch on the butternut flesh if there is not enough viable milkweed. We cut up one squash into small cubes. Being the types that like to compost in place, we also left the curvy bottom pieces in the corners of the monarch bed. These could compost there or get eaten as some of the roving caterpillars made their ways around the frame.
All of the composting in place worked. It may have worked too well. We started having sprouts of butternut squash pop up in the corners. Now they’ve spread. We decided to leave them and see what happened.
The bees have been having a field day with the blossoms.
Now we have a butternut squash hanging off the side of the monarch bed.