First of two updates from MaryG and Higgs Boson’s Mate in Southern California:
It was a busy, busy autumn and winter for gardening here. I have always wanted a vertical succulent wall, but never thought I could have one. While Higgs Boson’s Mate was cleaning out my garage last summer, he came across a pile of old wooden soda crates I used to use as bookshelves for paperbacks. We decided they would make great planters for succulents that could be hung up on the large blank wall of the garage in the back yard. He cleaned, fortified and watersealed them first.
He lined them with cocoa matting, filled them with potting soil mixed with extra sand and vermiculite, and stapled blank landscaping fabric and half-inch plastic hardware cloth on top. I bought some succulents at Cosco and nurseries, but needed more than I could comfortably afford doing that way. I found a guy in San Diego who sells succulent cuttings online. He sells through his own site, Amazon, Etsy and eBay. His prices are highest on Amazon, then Etsy, then his own site, then eBay, so of course I bought on eBay. I got 150 cuttings for $69.95 with free shipping. Here is what they looked like:
We were able to make six boxes at first; here is one of them a month or two after it was done:
In order to get more cheap plants for more boxes, I looked up how to propagate succulents. The clearest demo said that rather than pulling off leaves and sticking them in some dirt, you leave them loose on top of the soil and spritz them with water once in a while. So, we dumped all of the leaves that fell off after we put up the boxes into an old planter we called the “puppy farm,” like this:
We had waited longer than the three days they recommend for letting calluses form on the cut ends of the plants, and it was more than two weeks before we started the farm, so I did not hold out much hope, but I was wrong. When we looked up close after a month or two, we saw this:
Dozens of baby plants sprouted out of the leftover leaves! So in the last couple of weeks, without buying more than a couple of new plants just to get a few more colors in the mix, I was able to make four more boxes off of leaf sprouted plants, cuttings from some of the original plants, and puppies from the farm, like this one:
This is one of the new boxes:
They are quite heavy and we haven’t decided if we will put them up on the wall, or just enjoy them all where they are.
To be continued, next Sunday…