Using Cactus as Mulch

While I 'ferment' my Prickly Pear paddles into a fertiliser tea -- the opportunity to harvest Peruvian Apple Cactus/ Queen of the Night (Cereus peruvianus) stems enabled me to deploy a succulent mulch spread over several beds very quickly.Waste not/Want not.Guaranteed to keep the livestock off the beds!I'll be planting in between the cut stems after I've sealed the cracks with woodchip mulch as a grout.In my experience, this cactus will rest on the soil and serve as a mulch for over a year as it is slow to break down.This column cactus has around 5 blades which serve as drains when it rains -- directing water runoff into the soil below.You could waste wood and replicate this mulch with logs, but that would be a termite magnet. It would be an extra Nitrogen demand.While the older Cereus peruvianus stems have a woody core-- they don't seem to be that attractive as termite cuisine. The closest would be using banana stems this way as mulch. But, ironically, because of their weight, banana stems are much harder to work with.Aside from the vicious prickles, this is easy DIY.Gloves are essential, of course...and the best tool for prepping the pieces is a machete.
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  • 3709453861?amp;width=480&profile=RESIZE_710xSo far/so good.

    I have since thrown some wood chips at the cactus mulch and that has settled in between the stems. With the cactus logs in situ I get the woodchip usage to extend further over the beds. In places, I've planted a range of plants -- flowers, squashes and the like.

    All you need do is wiggle the logs  apart, stab a hole in  the underlying dirt, plant your seedling, then throw on some fresh soil and manure.

    Later I'll share some images of the plant growth within the cactus-mulch combo.

    If you grow any form of 'tree' cactus -- the Peruvian Apple or the Prickly Pear -- you need to also have a PLAN B for dealing with the cut stems.

    And you MUST cut them, otherwise they get too big -- and will reach a stage that tackling them in dribs and drabs is no longer possible.

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