SIDNEY — It’s officially time for the 2020 Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative annual milkweed seed pod collection. Collection dates run through Oct. 30.
The Shelby Soil and Water Conservaction District (SWCD) will be an official collection site this year for the statewide pod collection effort supporting the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative. Milkweed is the only host plant for the Monarch butterfly for egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs as well as many other pollinator species. The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to the 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years. The Shelby SWCD is working hard to change this, and the community can help.
To collect the seed pods from a milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry, gray, or brown in color. If the center seam pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. Anyone collecting seed should become familiar with the common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed. It is best to collect pods into paper bags and put the date and county collected on the bag. Please avoid using plastic bags, as they attract moisture. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dry area until they can be delivered to Shelby SWCD. Please visit http://www.ophi.info/ for more information on this initiative.
Due to ongoing COVID 19 health guidelines, the collection bin is in the main entrance hallway outside of the Shelby SWCD office at 822 Fair Road in Sidney. Wear a face covering when entering the building. For more information, call the Shelby SWCD at 937-492-6520 ext. 3.