Rain comes to the desert- July 1999
A Pincushion Cactus in bloom
Barrel, Hedgehog, Pincushion, Prickly Pear and Cholla cactuses are found all over the land. The Barrel, Pincushion and Hedgehog are beautiful, short cacti that are not as easy to propogate as the other two. So, we have been moving them onto safe spots on the land- areas to be left undeveloped, and a temporary nursery. We only wish the big developers would do this to the land they are building on.
Below, you will find pictures from the first part of our strawbale home adventure: carefully clearing the land and learning the rhythm of the desert.
Barrel Cactus are round plants that grow to maximum of about three feet tall, but can also be as wide. They flower in the fall, and fruit in the winter. Native peoples called them "desparation fruit," because it was the only food available in the cold season. They have long spines that curl at the end, and they can store a great deal of water in their barrel-shaped bodies.
|To move a barrel cactus, we first found a suitable place to move it to with similar shading. It is important to maintain the same orientation of the plant so that it doesn't burn, so we marked the south side of the plant with some temporary sticks held by its own curly spines. We gently dug around the cactus, being careful not to cut the delicate roots.
One can move a barrel by picking it up with gloved hands by its roots, or by placing it on a shovel and carrying it to its destination. If it is very large, sometimes it cannot be transplanted, but we were lucky to only have small to medium barrel cactuses in the house pad area.
Hedgehog cactus are an endangered species, but not on our property where they are plentiful. They are short and long with a few shoots that come out of one root. They have straight spines, and a beautiful flower that comes in early spring. This is a family adventure, and here is our five year old son, Forrest, transplanting a hedgehog cactus. After carefully digging around it, he picked up the cactus by the roots and placed it in a hole in our temporary nursery.
Last updated on July 20, 1999