Planting the way for the return of the monarch

When managing the garden, Monarch Watch advises not to use any pesticides, which will have a negative effect on the caterpillars and butterflies. The non-profit program also recommended “deep watering” the plants weekly for an hour or two at a time by using a soaker hose or sprinkler, followed by a “lack of water in the soil near the surface,” which makes plants stronger and healthier. Dried seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place in a reclosable plastic bag or other container.

“There’s a certain amount of satisfaction that I get growing things from scratch,” said Stegmaier, who has a passion for nature, history and literature. “It’s that natural cycle—watching it unfold and being a part of it.”

Monarch waystations varying in sizes exist throughout the nation, including Connecticut. Individuals who create a monarch habitat can have it become certified as an official Monarch Waystation. After certification, the site will be included in an online database of Monarch Waystations, and individuals who apply will receive a certificate with an identification number for their site. “I haven’t really advertised too much what I’m doing, and I’m hoping this is a first step in that direction,” said Stegmaier, who grew up in Plainville most of his life. “It would be good to get the town involved in something like that.”

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