You're right. I may have been trying too hard-
I cleared an area last fall and had it plowed up. I scattered Common Milkweed seed in the fall, thinking that's the natural way, as well as tried planting seeds in rows....... nothing came up. In June I tilled it again, and planted flowers, and summer squash in the area, thinking I wasn't to have milkweed there. Thinking also that the milkweed that had been there for a while may not come back after all the tilling and plowing.
I was surprised by some persistent Common Milkweed plants in the flowers and squash- just not in the rows I had planted. I guess the tilling didn't disturb the old roots much.
We've had our first frost-the squash is done. I intend this week to mark the milkweed plants - with row markers and till around them, and try again to add more milkweed.
The bed is somewhat of a rectangle with one wider end... along the drive and bordered by a fence. With a 20 year old lilac bush at the wetern edge, so it's a protected area and has been great for the six milkweed plants that have grown there for many years.... amongst whatever I put in there.
I had just hoped to add more milkweed plants, and native nectar sources to make it the "Monarch Garden".
Right now- I have Common Millkweed in a variety of places- in the dog pen, at the edge of the vegetable garden, in the daylily bed, along the road, in the horse pasture, etc... I'll keep trying to make the Monarch Garden concept with natives.
NEW MOTTO : Plant a Row for the Monarchs- Milkweed, Goldenrod & Asters Galore! (Monarch Waystation #17)