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Help with cactus garden

Posted by blownz281 8b coastal (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 21, 12 at 19:09

Well we live a mile away from the beach in NC. Are yard is all sand. SO I figured all my cold hardy cacti should be good to go. I built the garden up against the house so It was out of the way of our kids. I rushed into it,dug about a foot deep to get all the grass roots. Worked the area really good,then added some free sand I got. All the cacti are doing good. But everytime it rains the area never drains very well. So something below the bed must be holding the water. I rushed into it thinking,ah I don't need to add and gravel :( . Now I have to dig out 30 cactus and raise the bed and add drainage. Now I have access to seashells and tons of oyster shells. Now can I use these for drainage,like you would do with gravel or rocks? Should I crush then smaller? Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with cactus garden

I think adding something is a great idea. I always use gravel but shells should help if you get enough. I would break them into small pcs. Sand can be bad for retaining water also. So I would add course builders sand to improve drainage. you will need finer particals around the roots so not to leave them exposed during winter.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Living in ohio originally with all clay soil,I assumed the sand would drain the water quick enough. I can get TONS of oyster shells. Do they sell that at HD - Lowes? Is it expensive? Thanks


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RE: Help with cactus garden

I deal with clay soil here, no fun. I can get pea gravel and step 1 course sand from lowes or HD. That stuff is around 4$ per bag. I get a load of standard gravel for 20$ at our local much yard. I mix that with top soil to about 4" above grade. Since Im in a colder zone right off Pilot mountain I use pure pea gravel around the roots to keep them dry. The cacti can send roots down for water but will not survive sitting in it.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

What I will do is dig all them out,put several inches of crushed shells down and add the sand your talking about and then pea gravel for the top. Local rock place across the street will fill large buckets of this really fine gritty stuff for driveways. $3.00 per bucket. If you are into saltwater fish tanks,the buckets I would have them fill would be old buckets salt came in. Most of mine are prickly pear and they will live in anything. Others I worry about,but they show no signs of stress. But cactus can look great on top,but underneath could be rotting.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

You can check out Plant Delights nursery website. They have articles that Tony Advent wrote on planting cacti and agaves. This should be helpful since they are here in N.C.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

We went there for the first time in July. Pretty cool,bought a Helens Hybrid Banana plant. I dug all the cacti out and found three that had some mushy areas on them and they started sending roots out above that. SO I'm happy I dug them up. This week we have and a few days before have been very rainy.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

If you are in the south and are going to grow cactus in the ground where there is much sand I suggest finding a source for steinernema feltiae and treat the soil with them once a year to control root knot nematodes. They can devestate cactus in the south.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Thanks for the heads up. But we have never had any problems with growing them and Banana plants.

Chad do you have any pictures of your cactus?


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RE: Help with cactus garden

I have several post with photos. You can use the search function and type my user name. That should give you a few recent post. I have been expanding one of my rock gardens so Im not ready to post new photos yet.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Looks good man. What are the barrel cactus types you have? They are pretty hard since you left them out. The yellow barrel you have is the same type I got from Lowes. Did yours stay in the ground all year? Walmart here just got a shipment of healthy $3.00 cold hardy barrels. I got some oyster shells layed them down and dump down a bunch more of sand,and I think clayish sand that was around the foundation of the house. I needed to raise the bed. Then the plan is to add more oysters,then some fine gravel or the builders sand stuff you mentioned. Then pea gravel on top.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

My golden barrel cactus stay in the ground year round. I just cover them with a pot when it gets into the 20F range and when it rains. The biggest thing is to not let them get wet from Nov. to Mar.

Everything your doing sounds good. I would be sure to wash the shells. The new plants may not like the extra salt.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

What type are the other round cacti you have? Yeah shells got rained on for a log time.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

The golden barrel and golden ball cactus came from lowes. They are not hardy here but don't tell them. I have Echinocereus Triglochidiatus and Ferocactus Hamatacanthus. Both of which are hardy. I also have various other cacti that came from big box stores that should be hardy to 20F without protection.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Okay my Dad is going to bring down a trailer with very fine driveway gravel. The stuff that's loaded with shark teeth from a cory. Now how many inches of gravel do I need to mix with my sand. As that's the only soil I have right now. Might be some clay type stuff in there too by the color. He needs to know how much to get. As he lives a hour 17mins away. 180"L -50"W is the size of my garden. Trailer can fit a riding tractor John Deer no problem. If that gives you any idea on size.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Hard to say. I'd get at least a full scoop if possible. If its too much it will not hurt since your not worried about the cold.

What cacti do you have? I know opuntia humilis, cylindropuntia and agave americanas would do fine. I see them everywhere over there.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Yeah I have them and many more. If you give me your email I can send you a picture or maybe post it here if I can figure it out?


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Chad,

But I have to be a Z5 cowboy - how do you keep the roots OK when the soil freezes for months on end? I know I have to get more Yuccas in the landscape (the city of Kamloops uses a few in lots of its public plantings), but I just don't think an Agave would make it while in immature form.


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RE: Help with cactus garden

Make that a Z4/Z5 - some winters are colder than others, but in neither can I wear shorts on Christmas comfortably.


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