Thursday, August 07, 2008

Gifts from the Cactus Guru...I have a dear friend whom I've dubbed "Cactus Guru" for the wealth of wisdom imparted upon me to put an end to my cruel, cactus-rotting ways. Well I must be a good student, because look what I got in the mail!Check out the adorable packaging..........with ample warnings as to the danger level of the contents.........and padding for protection! (As much for me as them!)And excellent cultural info! Good thing, because I still need all the help I can get!Wow! Look at the size of this prickly pear pad! If this thing takes off and grows well for me, I'll need a "desert room" added on to my house!Now, to pot these babies up, I'll need some tools to keep me safe. These metal tongs worked great, I didn't even need to wear gloves.Some screen to prevent a washout/mess........and the "secret" soil formula. I kind of made up these proportions myself, based on information from my guru. I double-checked for final approval and was told it sounded just fine, with this caveat:"This is a general, well draining mix with some vital nutrients mixed in, but certainly could be tweaked, according to genus and country of origin." What a smart, guru-like thing to say! :) And although my measuring scoop has no official measurements on it, I'm guessing it holds about 1 1/2 cups...see why I need a guru? ;-)The sand I used came from sandbags acquired from the local dump, but any coarse sand will do. Then the pea gravel, and now for the extra nutrients: compost from my composter (pre-screened to get out big chunks), kelp meal...
....bone meal (looks every bit as yucky as it sounds)...
....and greensand.......and yes, it's green!
Rolled it all around in my Odjob mixer, and commenced potting. Looks like a good consistency, and the pea gravel sure helps support this big pad... ...... Mammilaria elongata 'Copper King' looking cozy together....
.....Cereus peruvianus 'Monstrose'....

.....Cholla looking fierce...

.....Euphorbia ferox.... ....opuntia of some sort, looking cute as a button (well, a spiny button, anyway)...

.....Notocactus haselbergii 'Scarlet Crown'.... ....Notocactus leninghausii....

There! What a nice looking group! I'll leave them in indirect light with no water for a couple weeks per the advice of my guru, then water with a weak (1/2 strength or less) solution of fish emulsion and a capful of blackstrap molasses (My guru says of the molasses:"It's full of minerals too, plus they like a hit of sugar once or twice a year. Actually the microbes in the soil like it.") All I need to do now is buy a moisture meter, because my Cactus Guru swears by it. (And 30 years of Guru sucess is all the proof I need!) Oh please don't let me kill you guys! Cross your spines and hope not to die!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are an apt student, and your guru is very proud of you!
You did a fantastic job mixing your soil and potting your babies. :) They look very happy indeed.
Soon I'll be moving my butt over to make room for my cactus guru
in training to join me. Then it'll be your turn to pass the torch. :)
You're already doing that with this post. Very well done!

btw - the scarlet crown looks like it was searching for the sun while in that box! The top should be flat! It'll be interesting to see what shape it takes!

Your Cactus Guru :)

Cinj said...

Oh, how nice. You know, these catci remind me of a funny MIL story. She got a tropical plant from FIL's funeral. It started not looking very healthy. She wondered what she was doing wrong. Apparently since it was a "tropical" plant she thought they needed to be watered once a year. LOL.

I think you'll do fine with them. It's great that you have someone who knows what they're doing who can give you advise.

If you make some new decor to go with your new plants, you'll have to show us what you do.

lisa said...

Thank you, oh Wise Guru! :)

Cinj-Did your MIL's plant survive? Funny how we come to some very logical-sounding conclusions sometimes. I always thought that more water would solve any plant's problems, but I'm learning to "step away from the watering can". ;-)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

How fun--and what gorgeous plants! Do you have the opuntia that we can grow outside, too? I would assume you could, because I thought it was hardy to a zone or two colder than ours.

By the way, I used almost that exact same pair of meat tongs to replant my crown of thorns a few months ago. Works great, doesn't it? No sticking, and no slipping! :)

lisa said...

I DO have the cold-hardy opuntia, I "acquired" a pad from an undisclosed public location just a month ago...so far it's rooting. I guess it's true that "stolen plants grow best", but I don't harbor any guilt. It's too spiny to be left where I found it, so I just "pruned" it before the garden service had a chance. :) Oh yea, the tongs are the BEST!

chuck b. said...

I got a spineless opuntia pad, but it rotted. Sigh.

Let us know what moisture meter you get. I want to get one too, but whenever I look at what's available I get distracted and never make any headway.

lisa said...

I'm a long-time cactus rotter, so I feel your pain! My guru recommends this moisture meter, and I can't wait to order it! Unfortunately I have to, as "gross misappropriation of the descresionary funds" has left me in a "PBJ lunch" situation. *sigh*