Friday, January 21, 2011

Whiskey Barrels

Projects. Projects. Projects.  Here is one that I am loving right now.  It's called the Whiskey Barrel project and it is the 3rd and final Spring Project.  This is a great posting on how to start your own cacti garden.  Here are some things I've learned from over the years to keep you from scratching yourself up and how to have a cool cacti garden without it costing a million dollars.  If you live in the desert, it's really easy to do. 
From the picture above, you can see that's I've taken segments of cactus off the mother plant.  Cactus/succulents are very easy to begin, but you need some time to prep them before planting them into a pot or ground.   You could certainly buy them at your home gardening center, but why?  Most of us have friends who have all kinds of cactus in our yards.  So here's what I do.  Several of my friends in Tucson LOVE cacti and euphorbs and all succulents. We get together and take cuttings from each other's yards.  When you take the cuttings from the various cacti, etc, you must do so at the segmented part of the plant.  For example, if you have a prickly pear and want to start another plant, you take a pad or pads carefully off the plant.  Use gloves and metal tongs to grab segmented pieces off the ground so that you don't stick yourself.  Put the pieces in a box.  Let them sit outside or in your garage for a week or two so that the segments can scale over before planting them into the ground.  I've let these sit out for a week and have planted them into several of the whiskey barrels seen below. 
Once you've collected your cacti specimens, you prep your areas for plantings.  I purchased ten whiskey barrels that you'll see me place outside next week.  I mix our poor soil with cactus potting soil and let it settle.  A couple things about putting your cactus into pots or the ground. 
  1. Keep your new transplants out of the direct sun for the first year to prevent burn. Weird but true.
  2. The larger the segment of cactus/succulent; the longer it may take for it to become established. Smaller/average sized segments have a better chance of succeeding.
I'll show you everything when I'm done.  I have stickers in my hands from doing this but I'm slowly getting one barrel done a day.  I'm on barrel number 5 as of tomorrow. I need to get some more prickly pear pads of the purple nature.  I'm trying to create a purple green contrast with tall and short mixed together.  Several aloe vera and smaller agaves have been planted as well.  We'll see how it all works out:)


  1. I'm excited to see the final look. We can exchange cuttings. How about whiskey barrels? :)

  2. LOL!!! How much would shipping cost for that stuff?:) I can't wait to see what the final product looks like....:)

  3. I wish I had succulent lover neighbors to swap cuttings with. There is a man that lives about 45 minutes from me that I need to visit. He has an extensive huge collection. He went to Arizona 30 or 40 years ago and brought back specimens. You should see them now. Incredible. I will go this spring or summer and do a post on him.

  4. His succulent garden sounds amazing. I look forward to reading about your experience:) Have a good weekend!

  5. Hi,
    I enjoyed seeing your various citrus photos, but didn't read the posts, because I am in zone 5b and in a hurry. I have more opportunities to grow cacti, but not as many as you do.

    Have fun with your whiskey barrels!


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