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Growing SLOWLY

April 5th, 2014

Back in February of 2011 I started cactus from seed. They were tiny, so, so tiny.
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Well, they’ve been growing in their tiny pots for the past 3 years and are still small, but they’re growing.
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They’re starting to look like their adult plants, less like baby plants and more like mature ones. It will be interesting to see how long they live and how they grow every year. I suppose if I fertilized them more often they’d grow faster, but I rather like their slow growth rate. I usually give them a diluted fish emulsion once year.

Have you started any interesting plants from seed?

Tiny Cactuses

October 8th, 2011

Remember back in the spring when I started a flat of cactus seeds? I ended up with six or seven tiny plants from my pack of seeds. In May I moved the flat out to the front porch so they could get some sun and warmth. Little did I know, our little outdoor cat thought this flat was her new bed. When I finally discovered what she was doing, there were only two tiny cactus plants that survived. I quickly planted them in tiny pots and put them in a sheltered place on the front porch so they wouldn’t get knocked over or trampled.

They stayed out all summer long and grew very slowly. I just transplanted them to slightly larger pots before bringing them in for the winter. Even though they’re 10 times bigger than they were this spring, they’re still teeny tiny little plants.


Just how tiny are these little plants? Here’s a penny for scale:

I love that even though they’re still so tiny, they’re so different, it takes a macro lens to see those differences fully. It may take a while for these to get to a noticeable size, but that’s OK. I think they’re kind a cute. I certainly won’t have to worry about making room for them in the living room since they won’t take up any space at all!

There’s something so interesting about tiny plants. I have a collection of miniature herbs in the garden, each of them growing no taller than a centimeter. Among these are a few different varieties of creeping thyme, Scotch moss and Corsican mint. Plants come in such a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, I’m happy to have some of each here at Chiot’s Run.

Do you have any favorite teeny tiny plants?

My Tiny Cactus Garden

February 26th, 2011

When I was a kid, my mom often had a cactus garden in the living room. It usually consisted of a few tiny cactuses in a wide shallow pot, a little gravel road, an a tiny clay chiva. A Chiva is a traditional Colombian bus that is used in the rural regions. It is painted up in the colors of the flag and was always packed to overflowing with people, chickens, bananas, plantains, and all sorts of other things.

I wanted to start my own miniature cactus garden for my dining room table. I was going to buy some small cactus as the greenhouse, but then I spotted this pack of seeds at the hardware store for only $1.19. I figured I’d give it a whirl and try starting my own tiny cactuses from seed.

I wasn’t hoping for much, I’ve heard they can be difficult to start from seed. I started by filling a seed flat with a mix of equal parts potting soil and coarse sand. On February 13th I sprinkled the cactus seeds on top and lightly worked the top of the soil. Then I sprayed well with water, covered it with a plastic dome, and put it down on the heating mat in my basement seed starting area. I checked the flat daily and sprayed it with water when the top of the soil dried out (which happens quickly when you have things on a heating mat). Seven days later, on February 21, I noticed three tiny cactus seedlings in the flat.

These seedlings are TINY. They’re very hard to spot, especially since they look a lot like the larger pieces of sand. You can see in the photo below, I used a very small sewing pin to show scale. I thought it would help show you how tiny these plants really are. Right now I have 8 tiny cactus seeds that have germinated. I wonder what varieties I’ll have when they grow up?

I’m super excited about these tiny seedlings. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to grow big enough to plant in a cactus garden to surround the small chiva. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how these do.

Have you ever had a cactus as a houseplant?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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