Arid bed - the finished article!

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Dave Brown
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by Dave Brown » Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:50 am

A couple of things to maybe consider Ouraka.

Your soil looks pretty much like garden soil. I tried improving mine with loads of sand and gravel, and it set like concrete while still not drying out anywhere near fast enough, particularly in winter. In the end I gave up with it, dug it all out, and replaced with a ballast/gravel mix, with about 1% loam. This worked much better and I stopped losing plants. Paul Spracklin, arids officinado, said "you can always add things, if necessary, but you can't take things out". Starting off with the mimimum worked for me :wink:

The other point is your rocks look like a dry stone wall, with each rock fitting perfectly into each other. I build higher layers by using the rocks individually next to each other allowing the gravel/chippings to spill through between, this looks more like would happen naturally. :)
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ourarka
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by ourarka » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:42 am

Paul,

Yes, no doubt things will get added though I feel less is more with this kind of thing so don't want to overdo it! As for the agave at the back it's very frustrating cos when I planted it I noticed I'd lost the ID so couldn't recall the name! I've put a close up photo below, so maybe someone can help out. As for the Utahensis,it is pictured below. It is very small and I am going to keep in the pot for no and try to grown on.

Dave - I take on your points wholeheartedly. The soil I will have to see - it was designed to be a budget friendly project so my aim is to cloche in winter to keep dry with some gaps at the bottom for air movement. It will all be 'learn as I go' but I have intentionally not spent too much on plants in case of losses. As for the wall, good point well made but I am really happy with the outcome and tinkering will probably open up a major can of worms!
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image.jpg
Close up of the mystery Agave
image.jpg
A vey dinky Utahensis


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paulrm71
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by paulrm71 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:26 pm

Your big agave looks like a neomexicana, very nice too. Your utahensis looks a little bit stressed and doesn't look like there is much substrate in the pot. I have just used a standard cactus mix with mine and then covered with a few stones. Mine is doing really well inside on a sunny windowsill.


Andy Martin
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by Andy Martin » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:16 pm

Another agave to try is Deserti. I bought one from Bob Brown's Cotswold Garden Plants.
IMG_0886.JPG
According to Bob it survived with damage at -18C but dead at -20C.... outdoors as well.


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Dave Brown
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by Dave Brown » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:17 am

paulrm71 wrote:I have just used a standard cactus mix with mine and then covered with a few stones. Mine is doing really well inside on a sunny windowsill.
Is the Cactus mix loam based or peat, Peat is fine in summer but stays too wet in winter I have found. Didn't understand why they called a peat based mix, Cactus mix :roll:
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paulrm71
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by paulrm71 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:45 pm

It's Westland cactus mix, but it doesn't say if its peat based or not. I only use it on agaves that stay indoors anyway, all planted out ones are into gravel only.


ianmck
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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by ianmck » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:16 pm

Commercial cactus mix is terrible for cactus. Most of them seem to be peat compost with a few bits of grit tossed in. It's the biggest myth/con of all time and is the surest way to kill a cactus. :lol: Agave, yuccas etc generally need some organic matter though and are more forgiving so it's not as vital. Depending on what's in the mix, for agaves I would use any sort of small stones and pebbles and mix it 50/50 minimum with the commercial mix. I personally use a mixture of pebbles, vermiculite, perlite and a little bit of compost. You want it to be free draining but also hold moisture for a short time ideally.


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Re: Arid bed - the finished article!

Post by fgtbell » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:21 pm

I couldn't agree more - this article has photos of cactus in the wild and it is amazing how they grow, even thrive, with essentially no soil at all. http://www.cactiguide.com/pdf_docs/hexalog-engl.pdf Even if you don't want to read the whole thing, the photos are interesting.
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