The weather has become cold enough to be January instead of December, but fortunately there is a good snow cover. The cold frames with cacti in them are covered by more than 3 inches of snow and I think the plants are safe. Usually it isn’t this cold this early, so I wonder if it will stay this way through Feburary.
I suppose I’m expecting it to warm up again some in December, but it just keeps getting colder. It isn’t going to matter much to the plants because they are already in winter rest mode. Small amounts of snow and cold rain keep happening, so I might as well leave the cold frames closed. There are lots of cactus plants I won’t see until spring and I will miss them.
The weather has turned cold in the end of November and colder than most years at this time. There has been a small amount of snow and the cold frames are closed with less than an inch of snow on top. I would not be surprised if it warms up again but December can go either way with warmer of colder weather. If it continues to snow it will be best to leave the cold frames closed, but if it warms up again the plants will be dryer if they are opened up to stay dry. Moisture will accumulate inside the cold frames when the weather gets warmer, and the cacti do better when it gets colder again if they stay dry.
The snow here was very slight, and only enough to form a thin white layer by mid morning. Early this morning I closed the lids on the cold frames and brought in the remaining cacti that were still outdoors. The cold frames have a layer of ice on them that may last a few days because the cold fronts have moved through. Most likely it will warm up into the 40s again and the cold frames will be open for most of November and well into December too. The snow fall was beautiful to watch this morning and it feels like the seasons are changing in expected times.
Sadly, 2 Echinocactus texensis plants rotted this week. These are a few of several of these plants I’ve had for years grown from seeds. I’m not sure why these two rotted, but the rest of these plants look like they are doing well. These plants are under lights for the winter, and hoping they will soon be old enough to bloom this coming summer.
Pediocactus are difficult plants to start from seed and even more difficult to care for as young plants. Many of the successful plants germinate outdoors and stay outdoors growing along side the adult plants. I’m also trying to keep young plants indoors for the first few years of their life and these plants also do very well. It’s unrealistic to keep Pedios indoors because when they become adult plants they need outdoor conditions to thrive as healthy plants. Now I have lots of young indoor plants I hope to move outdoors in a another growing season. I want to try making the move for these plants by putting them out in the fall and letting them go through winter outdoors as their first outdoor experience. This week I’ve decided to put out 3 Pedio plants to try this winter. Hope they do well.
We usually have nights below 40 this time of year, but nights have been strangely warm this year. All the outdoor cacti are in cold frames with the lids kept open. These plants are getting small amounts of rain, but the water will be of little use to them now. These super cold hardy plants are starting to shrink to prepare for their winter rest. Cacti that spend winters under snow get rid of most of their water and become lower to the ground to be ready for a long period of cold days and nights below freezing. Even though the soil around these plants is wet these plants will ignore this water supply until march in the coming spring.
This is the first year the cacti have been brought indoors this early. It usually happens that a few nights going down to freezing are a few day off and there is a panic kind of work getting all the plants into safety. The plants going into the outdoor cold frames are in place too. The weather is beautiful with sunny warm days and cool nights. The skies are almost clear and cloudless blue gems every day lately. This is really a beautiful place.
The weather is great, but it is time to move the cacti indoors. These few weeks will take hours to move hundreds of cacti indoors on to windowsills and under lights for the long winter. Many of the cacti will actually stay outdoors all winter and these plants never come indoors. The cacti that remain outdoors will have to be moved though, so they end up in cold frames for the winter. Only a few cactus plants will stay completely outdoors to be exposed to the full force of winter as experiments.
So far about half way done moving plants, and it looks like there is time to move them all to safe places for the winter. Weather is holding out well for this time of year.
Most of the cacti are still outdoors and most of them will be coming indoors for the winter soon. The weather has brought rain every other day and today we are getting soaked. This year the cacti will have the wettest soil ever when coming indoors. They should be fine, but with all the wet soil I do wonder if I might lose a few to rot. Hope not…. Every year these plants have fewer deaths from fungal infections when they are brought in for the winter.
The advantage to having the plants come in for the winter soaking wet from rain is that none of them will need any water for at least 4 months. Some of them will get no water at all for over 6 months, but the smaller ones will need a little water by April.
Another good thing is that rain water is acidic and this will contribute to the health of the plants.
Many of these cacti will be in windows while others will be under artificial lights. Over all I guess I’m happy with the excess rain.