Monday Opuntia baby updates: potato, ‘Mesa Melon’, and Santa Fe.
A recent cactus fiend
Yesterday’s rain kept me out of The Coffin until this afternoon, but I got a lot of work done and was pleasantly surprised.
The harsh winter did away with the Agave salmiana pup and all of the Opuntia microdasys ‘Crazy Bunny’ - which I had expected - but the O. microdasys ‘Baby Rita’ and O. hemifusa look great! In fact, the Baby Rita are already putting on new pups.
The O. engelmannii and O. ellisiana actually fared much better than their counterparts in the main garden - with the previous not only showing new growth, but they also held on to most of their fall fruit.
The first task was to clean up around the Opuntia, which involved both the electric trimmer and hand trimmers. Then, a hauled the mower down - not an easy task - and began clearing the area adjacent to the current Opuntia garden. It hasn’t been touched in two to three years, but was fairly easy to clear out. The last photo shows how much more area I will be incorporating as I cull Opuntia pads this season.
Next step: choose the pads that I cleared out from the winter that have a solid shape and strength.
The first areolar meristems have arrived. In a matter of weeks, we’ll know how many buds and how many cladodes (pads) we are looking at. I stopped counting when I realized it would be more than a hundred - more than enough to get this guy back in shape.
On a side note, here is an interesting read on Opuntia and mesquite fruit production here in Texas: