help for planting a Black Swallowtail cat host plant bed
Hi! I've had a little bit of a conversation with Terrene on the wintersowing forum about how we had a bunch of Black Swallowtails at our house last year. They laid a bunch of eggs on the 2 parsley plants I had. After stripping the parsley they moved on to the other plants in the bed & ate the leaves off the peppers & two small tomato plants. The bed & the ground around it was crawling with them. This year I want to be prepared - but I don't want to use the space in my small veggie beds.
The best spot I can find is this patch between the flower garden & the shed. It is sand (SAND). :) The tree is a tall spindly oak which gives the space afternoon shade, & fills the sand with roots.
I have 2 straw bales & I was thinking I could plant in those, but it won't give me a lot of room. However, whatever I do has to be on the cheap because there just isn't a budget for this. The other option is to just plant into that sand, maybe mixing in a bag of compost & working around the roots. (For reference, the bed the cats over-ran was 4'x4'. I don't think many of them made it because there wasn't enough of their food. We only saw one cocoon before I had everyone stop walking in the area because there were so many cats on the ground. Then we had some other things going on & I didn't pay attention.)
The 2 parsley plants recovered & I'm hoping I can move them. I've wintersown parsley (only have 2 sprouts so far) ammi majus (13 sprouts), dill (3 sprouts - there were more but I lost some - this is my first time wintersowing). I also have carrot seed. I can also probably purchase a few plants later in the season if I need to, but I'd like to get my plants going now so they have some size on them before the cats arrive.
Anyhow, all that to ask - do you have any suggestions? Should I plant what I can in the straw bales, or have you had any luck growing these plants in poor sandy soil? I can fit more plants in if I plant into the ground, but they might not do as well as in garden soil or compost in the bales. I'd be happy to have suggestions because I'm tired of chasing this around! Thank you!