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Raver Buddy

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  1. Raver Buddy

    Seedling heat mat

    Okay m8. If you wanna get technical on light for indoor growing of cacti this is the best Youtube vid-jay-oh I based my tech off. It's from somone @ Cactusinfo.nl: https://youtu.be/r30oZ3FoAAs His quote is: Also just incase I didn't make this clear before, the reason I went with a simple USB heat mat from China and NOT one from China off ebay that contains it's own power supply is because of SAFETY. I've seen a bunch of electrical engi-nerd Youtube vid-jay-ohs of cheap Chinese AC-DC power supplies where they are not up to Aussie or UK standards. Often not with proper gaps between the high voltage AC side and the low voltage DC side. You only have to see some teardowns of fake knockoff Apple or Samsung USB chargers to get an idea. Now you might be thinking but it's all made in China well the difference is as far as I know even cheap shops here like Bunnings, Woolworthless or Reject Shop that get their electrical stuff made in China have to be up to Aussie electrical codes. Buying from ebay either directly from China or from a fly-by-night Aussie ebay reseller, gets around this. The worst case I've seen is where a USB charger failed internally and the full 240V from the AC side crossed into the the low 5V DC line. Needless to say the comment was it gave someone a rude tingle when they touched it so they sent it in for a tear down vid by an electrical engi-nerd!
  2. Hi, I'm looking for Seeds for Trich. Pach. Olivia X Scopulicola. I'm interested in this cross because from what I've heard they produce approx 70% of seedlings in a monstrose or crestata form. Each looking very unique. Any other crossed seeds of from Trichs that are very high in producing monstrose or crestata forms are very welcome. I'm happy to pay for them. Any links or info is apprecieated. I've read a rumour on here that Trich. Oscar X Olivia seeds also produce high numbers of monstrose & crestata forms but I have no idea on what percent. So I'm Interested in this cross if anyone has it and has some info on what percent grow monstrose or crestata?
  3. Raver Buddy

    Seedling heat mat

    I think I can help. It took me a few goes to get the takeaway tek to work in the middle of winter. First time I only got 1 seed to sprout but then I figured it out and now every time many of my seeds sprout (lophs, ariocarpus, ortegocactus, mamilaria, trichs, ect). This is what I've found is critical: - Light source in the right spectrum and at least 5000 lux. - Heat mat, low 20's celcius are a minimum. - Timer for heat mat and light. (I set to 12 hrs on 12 hrs off but more or less should work fine.) Details: Cheapest and best bang for buck for the right light spectrum is a warm white LED bulb. You can use compact fluoro in warm white which are slightly less efficient. You can also use halogen in warm white but they are much less efficient (lots of the power ends up as heat). Put the bulb in a cheap adjustable desk lamp from Bunnings or supermarket. I find the lowest 6 watt LED bulb is great for just a few cactus seedlings in tupperware containers. When I have a small coffee table with full of 6cmx6cm potted cacti on it and the tupperware seedlings during winter then I use an 11 watt LED bulb and raise it up so it hits everything. The most critical thing and the deciding factor between me getting only 1 seed to sprout the 1st try and then getting most to sprout the 2nd try was getting the bulb at the correct height to get 5000 lux. I did not use any fancy light meter. I just downloaded a simple free sensor app on an android phone. Most phones made in the last 10yrs running android will work fine as they have a light sensor for auto adjusting the screen brightness for indoors & outdoors. Many free sensor apps will show you a reading of light measured in lux. I stick my phone right on top of the lid of the tupperware containers with the seeds and make sure I'm getting at least a reading of 5000 lux. If you go heaps more than 5000 lux keep in mind that your seeds should still sprout but the seedlings can get a red spot from "light burn". If this happens just move the light source back a bit. I got the the desk lamp, warm white LED bulb & timer from Bunnings for cheap. The heat mats I used are the small camo $5 USB Heat Mats from ebay.com.au bought directly from China. Here's a link: Been using for over a year now with no problems. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Pet-USB-Electric-Adjustable-Heat-Pad-Reptile-Heating-Mat-Warmer-Blanket-AU-Stock/254140829651?hash=item3b2bf94fd3:m:maxmf2twD4v-DStMmFlPyeg Keep in mind that I found the model of these that work with a separate timer is the USB heat mat with no switch or adjustable heat settings. I wouldn't reccomend buying the mat that has the switch and adjustable settings as it won't turn back on automatically with a timer. I'm not an electrical engineerd but my 2cents are that if buying a heat mat from China I'd go with one that does not have an internal AC to DC power supply (no wall plug). That is why I just got a simple USB powdered heat mat. For the actual AC to DC power supply (AC wall socket to USB) I use a proper name brand phone charger such as Sony or Samsung. Any proper name brand phone charger rated at 2 Amps output @ 5 volts is sufficient for one of those small mats (My testing shows the small mat draws 1.35 Amps). Dunno how much current the medium size mat needs to reach full heat but I'd expect more than the small. So if you get the medium size mat and it's not getting as warm as it should you may want to try it with a larger current phone charger just to check that it's getting the full current it wants. You can try it with any chargers you have that are more than 2A output and compare with the 2A charger and see if the mat gets any warmer. The mat is current limited (will not draw more current than it needs) so you can safely use any USB charger that is rated to more output current than it needs (3A, 4A, 5A, ect). Just make sure the USB charger says 5V output and no more. Most are 5V. I use a simple USB plug in device with a small LCD screen that I can plug any USB device into and it shows me exactly the voltage and current it is drawing. The are only 5 bucks from ebay. Here's a link if you want one: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/USB-LCD-Detector-Voltmeter-Ammeter-Power-Capacity-Battery-Current-Meter-Tester/322629753120?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=511633953564&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649 Here's a pic below of some of my cactus seedlings using the takeawak tek. I'm using the small size camo USB mat l linked to above. As you can see the max it can fit is 6 of those small cube tupperware containers that you buy from k-mart.
  4. I've now given away the last of the extra minerals and topsoil I was offering for free or trade. Just a note that if you don't want buy each type of rock or soil by the 20kg bag, I think Daisey's offer smaller sample bags. Otherwise you could end up with 80kg of rocks & soil like I did without thinking and then had to give away the extra stuff to friends. Also note that the screened local topsoil from Daisey's is high in clay. I would not use it on it's own for any plants as after watering it packs down like glue and will most likely not allow enough drainage for water and air to get to the roots. I found that mixing it with the different size mineral rocks (bluestone, granite & sandstone) in a glass jar showed that even after many waterings there are still lots of gaps below the surface for water & air to get to the roots. A salvia cutting planted in this mix, indoors, in winter has so far survived and even put on growth (with the aid of a regular warm white LED bulb & timer). I think this maybe a good enough test for me to use this soil & rocks mix for any other plants that aren't cacti, when grown indoors. Just seems that this is a far better option for indoor plants that are not cacti as it's less likley to be a breeding ground for those annoying fungus gnats that buzz around after watering. Again the likley culprit IMO is all that woodchip or bark.
  5. Care to post a pic MountainGoat? I haven't seen O. Subulata with crested formation before. Sounds quite interesting! I just came back to this thead to post that just the other day I found some O. Subulata Monstrose while at the shops. It was out the front of a small Asian grocery. The small ones were only 4 bucks so I couldn't pass it up and bought two. No labels and dodgey looking pots suggesting someone at the store is growing them and their other cacti rather than the usual Collectors Corner/Paradisa branded stuff you see supplied to Bunnings & Garden world. I've posted a pic below. Love how one of em I bought was not even in a real pot, just a dodgey hacked up plastic water bottle with dirt. Great! Less wastage for me as I re-pot everything in my prefered black glazed ceramic pots anyway. If anyone else is interested the small Asian grocery where I got them was in Hawthorn, Glenferrie Rd. Same side of the road as Coles but just up the road north a bit. They didn't have heaps of cacti but still interesting if you're in the area. You'll see em out the front on the street. They had a few other varieties of regular Opuntias too if you're into them or multi-grafting such as for a buch of seedlings.
  6. Hey guys looks like I finally have an answer to the question of the thread regarding O. Subulata. I made an account & asked the same question on CactiGuide.com and have gotten this answer from ElieEstephane : So it seems I can't get the monstrose version easily from ebay in Australia as they are actually the normal version. Now that I know what I'm looking for fingers crossed the plant seller at the next EGA might be able to sell me the right cutting. :)
  7. Kick arse, but super long article. After reading and serious hunting I made a post of my exploits (including switching all my plants over to soilless) which you can find here: http://www.shaman-australis.com/forum/index.php?/topic/46223-melb-vic-creating-a-soilless-mineral-only-mix-or-20-soil-mix-based-on-xerophillia-the-stone-eaters/. I include all the places I found to get my mineral rocks from (Melbourne, VIC, Australia).
  8. Okay thanks for the pic & info. I've ordered some O. Subulata Monstrose seeds for 2 bucks + GST from China so will see if I can get them going through the winter with one of those cheap Chinesium USB camo heating mats (listed "for pets") and a warm white LED bulb on a timer. Seems to do the trick so far for most other cacti seeds. Hopefully customs don't have a hissy and hopfully the seeds are real deal. Funny if you read the stories on Ali Express about the so called glow plant seeds. The few people that actually got em to grow said they were just some garbarge random plant. I guess what do you expect for a buck when it comes to Chinesium seeds eh? (Those who might have read more into the experimental genetically engi-nerd-ed glow plant might have realised that it seems to have gone under after the crowd funder and all the hype surrounding it a few years back. I'm sure the anti gen-mod, tree hugging hippies will be releaved but I really want a glow plant to go with my long life radio-active glow sticks ). This is the pic the seller posted for the seeds: In the mean time I ordered some plain old Peskys to play with for grafting (Pereskiopsis Spathulata) and am looking to play around with grafting onto some weird (varieg/monstro/cresty), or possibly just sickly & diseased Opuntias to see what happens. Pics are as follows for the weird prickly pears (Opuntias): Please lemme know if you have any luck getting weird growth from the scion after doing grafting. For some reason I wanna try a tripple banger graft like shown in those links I posted earlier on the chimeras. Maybe having two small slices banged on to a root stock can trick it into getting them both to grow stuff from each of them?!? Ultimate goal would be any fancy stuff from an Ortegocactus... Like this chimera in the pic below. I love the colour and weirdness of Ortegocactus so anything related is drool worthy IMHO. Here's the chimera I'm talking about. Old mate Percy for short (+ Ortegopuntia cv. PERCY) :
  9. Okay so what exactly are the "Monstrose growth tendancies". I've had a look around at some photos online for both O. Subulata and O. Subulata Monstrose and I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be looking for. Any chance you might be able to post a pic from the net and give any pointers?
  10. Hi guys, I'm really want to buy just a small cutting of Opuntia Subulata Mostrose after reading that it may have properties to cause the scion on grafts to branch like crazy. This is after reading these threads where they made strange chimearas with them. http://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=9172 and also http://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=8235. So far I've found a couple of ebay listings. Can anyone help me with this, is "Optuntia Subulata Monstrose" the same as "Austrocylindropuntia Subulata" or just "Optuntia Subulata" with no mention of "Monstrose"?!? Here is an example of a listing called Eve's Needles "Austrocylindropuntia Subulata" that I'm looking at buying. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Cactus-Eves-Needle-established-healthy-plant-over-10cm-tall/233003762952?hash=item36401b4508:g:aN4AAOSwaiBb6lpU I'm just not sure if it needs to have listed "Mostrose" or not as I've heard a rumor that these are not real Montrose anyway so are they all the same? Here is another listing where the word "Mostrose" is listed and I honestly can't really see much if any difference in groth pattern. https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Opuntia-Subulata-Monstrose-Xmas-tree-Cactus/392274225986?hash=item5b555dab42:g:IW4AAOSwBRlchNFO So is O. Subulata the same as O. Subulata Monstrose? Image for one sold as "Monstrose" Image for one sold without mention of "Mostrose" Are they Same-same ?!?
  11. Raver Buddy

    Meet up: Melbourne

    Maybe some rotted and shoulda used some of my soilless mineral only mix?
  12. Raver Buddy

    Plant Swap Melbourne EGA

    If anyone is interested in free (or trade) mineral mix and I also have a bag of screened topsoil (free from organic matter & fertilisers) please contact me ASAP as I bought more than I can use or store and would prefer it went to a good home rather than being needlessly dumped. I have roughly 70kg in total so take as little or as much as you want. The minerals are crushed granite, sandstone & bluestone. Each are separate so you can mix at your own proportions for either soilless mineral only or a mineral mix with soil. It took me a while to source this mix around Melbourne based on the Xerophillia: The Stone Eaters and I bought more than I'll ever need since they sell everything by the 20kg bag. If you want more info I've posted pics and everything here: http://www.shaman-australis.com/forum/index.php?/topic/46223-melb-vic-creating-a-soilless-mineral-only-mix-or-20-soil-mix-based-on-xerophillia-the-stone-eaters/ If I could potentially trade or give away this stuff before sometime in the next few weeks before the EGA plant swap I'd be most grateful as it's kinda heavy to lug out there. Failing that if you're still keen and live too far away from me & would like me to bring it out to the EGA plant swap (I live in the eastern suburbs bout half hour from from CBD), then shoot me a message with your details.
  13. Raver Buddy

    Meet up: Melbourne

    If anyone is interested in free (or trade) mineral mix and I also have a bag of screened topsoil (free from organic matter & fertilisers) please contact me ASAP as I bought more than I can use or store and would prefer it went to a good home rather than being needlessly dumped. I have roughly 70kg in total so take as little or as much as you want. The minerals are crushed granite, sandstone & bluestone. Each are separate so you can mix at your own proportions for either soilless mineral only or a mineral mix with soil. It took me a while to source this mix around Melbourne based on the Xerophillia: The Stone Eaters and I bought more than I'll ever need since they sell everything by the 20kg bag. If you want more info I've posted pics and everything here: http://www.shaman-australis.com/forum/index.php?/topic/46223-melb-vic-creating-a-soilless-mineral-only-mix-or-20-soil-mix-based-on-xerophillia-the-stone-eaters/ If I could potentially trade or give away this stuff before the EGA plant swap I'd be most grateful as it's kinda heavy to lug out there.
  14. After loosing too many of my indoor cacti to rust / rot I've decided to get to create my own mineral only mix based on Xerophillia: The Stone Eaters. http://xerophilia.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-Stone-Eaters.pdf. From my experience it appears that growing cacti & succulents on bedroom & bathroom windowsils indoors in Melbourne, VIC is challenging longterm because of the regular condensation & therefore high humidity. It seems the regular cactus potting mix sold at either Bunnings or Garden World Collectors Corner is either full of bark chips or peat moss as well, most likely making a breeding ground for microbes that cause rust / rot. Pre sterlising this potting potting mix in either a microwave or conventional oven was not enough IME to fix the issue longterm only slow it down. Please keep in mind this is why I have created one of the most high drainage & quickest drying mineral mixes. If others are are interested in using the ingredients I'm using but are in a hotter & dryer environment (such as outdoors) there are simple things you can add to this mix. For example adding porus rock should increase water retention. The porus ones I find that were not too difficult to find that are spelled out in The Stone Eaters guide as having good mineral content were perlite, vermiculie & pumice. The first two being available at most Bunnings stores but keep in mind they are very light and especially the perlite is often complained about as it floats on water. Pumice is a little harder to find and a lot more expensive. I found it for 50 bucks for a big bag from Bonzai Sensation which in Narre Warren South, VIC. Otherwise if you want there are other Bonzai suppliers that ship pumice from ebay in Australia their bags are generally much smaller and shipping is around 20 bucks. Scoria or crushed brick maybe inert in terms of mineral content but might be another cheap additive to add water retention. This seems to be reletively easy to find at gardening or landscaping supply shops. So after much reading, hunting and testing I've found the cheapest sources for my mineral only mix. I'm using crushed & screened granite, sandstone & bluestone rocks sourced from Daiseys Gardeing Supplies @ 7 bucks per 20kg bag. These are the exact items I bought: 1x 20kg bag of screened 20mm sandstone 1x 20kg bag of screened 10-14mm granite 1x 20kg bag of screened 7mm bluestone 1x 20kg bag of screened local topsoil Note: If you want less than 20kg bags I think they sell smaller "sample" bags @ Daiseys in the inside shop area. Also the screened topsoil is optional for mixing a 20% dirt + 80% mineral mix such as for tropical cacti. Here's a link to where I bought everything: https://daisysgarden.com.au/screenings/10-14mm-brown-screenings/. Midway Concrete seems to also have these 3 mineral rocks. https://midwayconcrete.com.au/garden-supplies/rocks/. Many of the other gardening and landscaping supplies I contacted have the bluestone screenings (often just called 7mm screenings or 7mm gravel for building road base) but often not the granite or sandstone. The sandstone is usually called "Tuscan Screenings" and the granite is often just called "10-14mm Brown Screenings". Here's a photo of the mineral mix I've created using granite, sandstone & bluestone: If you don't have those 3 rocks easily available at local gardening or landscaping supply shops, another option I found is mica-schist from Bunnings. The larger Bunnings sell N.Z. schist for 16 bucks for a 30-50cm slab. The stuff is faily soft and I found lots of pieces of crushed schist rocks from just looking down near the bottom of the palate. Should be able to get this for crushed stuff for free as they only care about selling it in a large slab. It's fairly easy to crush pieces of schist up to a smaller size for potting just using a hammer. Reccomended to wrap the stuff in plastic wrap or a bag and probably use something a bit more than just "safety squints" like either safety glasses or a face shield to protect yer peepers. If you've read through The Stone Eaters you'll probably be aware that carbonates such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate are generally something you want to either avoid or at least be aware of in your mineral or mineral & soild mix as they are reported to act as growth inhibitors for most cacti. With this in mind and having a f*ck all knowledge of geology or how to identify common carbonate rocks such as limestone or marble, I went with the acid test. Below in the photos, I tested with vinegar. This proved to be noticable enough with bubbling for carbonates if I put my hand or something behind the glass to give a bit of contrast. Better than vinegar is whatever stronger acid you have laying around. The bubbling will just be more noticable if you have something a little stronger than vinegar. I found diluting some supermarket citric acid or tartaric acid in water showed the bubbling reaction much better than vingar. Here is some unknown grey stone chips that bubble like mad in acid which indicate they contain carbonates. Is this limestone, marble or dolomite?!? Like I said I have f*ck all geology identifying knowledge... Here are some other partial fails in terms of products I tested. They are two different sizes of pebbles from Bunnings. The acid tests on the ones below reveal that some but not all rocks fizzed. It was not like the grey stone chips where every rock fizzed. On the ones below it was usually just some of the white stones that fizzed. This might only be a small percentage of the rocks so it might be okay depending on how much you want to avoid carbonates. I'm not impressed that it's marketed as pebbles for aquariums as I thought carbonates were exactly what aquarium owners were trying to avoid when buying rocks or at least with ones that have live fish in them. I sieved out the stones (and rinsed away all bark) contained in the potting mix from Garden World Collectors Corner. The acid test was very similar to the pebbles from Bunnings. Only a few white rocks bubbled. If I was to make a guess I'd say maybe somewhere around 10% of the rocks reacted. I guess this pretty much ends my guide or adventures in making my own mineral mix. Hopefully my cacti will be happier once they are all switched over and hopefully I'll avoid more casualties from my friendly cacti creatures dying pre-maturely from rot. I'll probably post any updates in the future if there's anything worth reporting as I've decided to go a more extreme route than what the authour of The Stone Eaters reccomended. He was saying that for cacti that have been babied with lots of organic matter and artificial fertiliser like all of that NPK crap to wean them off gradually. He reccomended something like a 20% dirt 80% mineral mix for the 1st season with a couple of fertiliser spays. I'm going against that reccomendedation and instead trying to switch all my cacti to soilless mineral only right away since it seems as I'm pulling them out to repot, many of them need their roots washed out anyway some even cut right off because of partial rust / rot. I'll have some dilute Seasol fertiliser just to help them initially. It'll be interesting to see how this goes. Update 26-Mar-2019: I've re-potted my 1st three cacti tonight in mineral only mix. The cacti all had their roots thoroughly rinsed of all dirt & the rocks where rinsed and boiled to remove any dirt & minimise microbes causing rot. I used roughly a ratio of 1:1:1:1 of mica-schist, sandstone, granite, bluestone. I don't have much of the mica-schist so once it runs out I'll just be using equal parts of the other 3 mineral stones. Update 29-Mar-2019 Okay that's it I'm all in on this one! Over the last couple of nights I've worked tirelessly to re-pot my whole cacti collection into my soilless mineral only mix. Pics are below. Some cacti I had to scrape & cut sectons of the roots that looked too dodgey from rust. Finally all done except for one cactus that's in heavy flowering, that is until I hammersnipe more cool cacti from ebay! Update 11-Apr-2019 I've bought a few more cacti & succs and am slowly getting around to rinsing/cleaning the roots from dirt and re-potting in soilless. Have tried to rescue a few too far gone from rot by grafting on some dragon fruit stock. Interesting to see if they go alright on soilless. More updates soon... I've also purchased some different Opuntias (prickly pears) & Pereskiopsis Spathulata (AKA Peskys) so we'll see how those fast growers do on soiless. Oh and the tiny Strombocactus Disciformus is the only one I did not rinse the roots. As it was so small and tiny with not much roots I was able to just pick out all the bits of bark with tweezers and pot him straight in the stones. In case you're wondering the air-tight tupperware containers in the centre contain an array of cactus seedlings (from Lophs to Ariocarpus, Ortegocactus and Strombocactus & more) growing on on the take-away tek. Using one of those cheap Chinesium USB camo heat mats and a warm white LED bulb on a timer they seem to have grown well from being planted in the middle of winter. Update 15-Apr-2019 I've had some clay pots arrive and finally potted the last of a batch of the cacti & succs. This is new to me so any advice is welcome. The new batch of clay pots I had to drill holes in them with a diamond holesaw. I used water to lube the drill as reccomended but now after a couple of days every gazed surface has fine cracks in the glaze. There was a disturbing cracking/tinkling/glass shattering type noise that went for more than 2 days as the pots dryed out. Did I drill it wrong? Should I not have used water when drilling? Are my pot going to blow apart or is it just the cosmetic appearace that cracks? P.S. The last pic is a close-up of a grafted Loph. Jourdaniana. The tiny spines are a dead giveaway. Update 28-Apr-2019 In the last few days I've cleaned & re-potted up these Opuntias. As you can see two of them are monstrose & variegated. The regular looking one is Santa Rita & I'll be most interested to see whether or not I get the reported change to that unique purple colour in winter. My apartment stays pretty warm during Melbourne winter so we'll see if it changes colour indoors or not.
  15. Raver Buddy

    Meet up: Melbourne

    A buddy is playing an old school, all vinyl, hard trance classics set night before & a bunch of mates are going. So I kinda have to go . All I'll be doin Sunday is smashing out Z's... (-_-) zzZ. Sure hope I can make the next one though! P.S. Any punks on here familiar with growin cactii & succs in mineral only setups? The search engine on here is a bit sh!t so I'm not finding much. I'm really over loosing too many indoor cactii to rot so I figure I may as well try my own mix. Haven't decided yet on whether I'll stick with 100% mineral only (rocks) or whether I'll add a bit of dirt in. The idea seems solid though. So called semi hydroponic drain to waste should be good at flushing away microbes that cause rot rather than helping em grow. Then again I'm just noticing that any home made soil I can mix will probably be a massive improvement on the so called store bought cactus soil I've been using. Says it contains wood chips, peat and one of those porus lava rocks. Like WTF?!? All of these are gonna hold water, grow microbes and promote rot aren't they? --Update-- Okay I think the problem I had with the search engine here was probably somewhere between where the drivers seat meets the steering wheel . As I just found a great post here on the forum, sat down and demolished a whole extensive article on primarily mineral based cactii planting and hear this with no extra fertilsers! Here's the link if anyones interested as has not yet checked it out: http://xerophilia.ro/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-Stone-Eaters.pdf Truely an amazing and extensive resource for my future amateur, tinkering & experimental cactii growing adventures.Wish me luck! Now all I have to find is some good crushed rock or rock I can hammer the f*ck out of to make it fine chunks. Seems granite, limestone and maybe some of those different lava rocks like pumice might be some of the best in terms of mineral bases for cactii and possibly ease to find?!? Will have to start hitting bunnings, nurseries and maybe even concrete/aggregate places till I can find something usable. F*ck yeah! Experimental cactii gardening for the win!
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