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Official Blog of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
by Sheldon Robinson
on October 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM
Since we are coming up on the winter season. Another thing to consider is your winter general climate. Cactus And Succulents are prone to frost and freeze damage.  
In some light frost cases minor damage might occur, where the damaged section will only wither and die off, leaving unsightly sections, or missing leaves.  
In major frosts and freezes, plants can be irreparably damaged and lost. In many cases losing complete collections.  
Some ways to avoid the damage is to provide overhead cover during light frost nights (for potted cactus and succulents)  
For ground planted cactus and succulents covering with a frost barrier cloth, might help alleviate or mitigate any of the damage.  
On nights where there might be a heavy freeze or frost, providing a low heat under the frost blanket will help. Check with your local nursery for ways to provide heat under a frost blanket in that situation.
by Stephen I Morse
on October 31, 2014 at 2:22 PM
Thank you for your comments… and thank you for reading and commenting on the blog. The Help Desk blog is still in a “learning as you go” mode.. and probably always will be. Your comments are quite pertinent and were an oversight on our part… maybe from making the original response during some pleasant summer weather… but as an avid succulent gardener myself, they are necessary considerations for a successful year-round in-ground succulent “strip” garden. We’d also be interested in your ideas on “low heat” under a frost blanket protection from heavy frosts or freeze… maybe (large) Christmas tree lights? Hopefully, if the client followed our suggestion to visit Ruth Bancroft Garden (RBG), they will see what grows year-round only several miles from their garden. RBG also grows some non-cold-hardy succulents/cactus which they faithfully cover with constructed “plastic film boxes” every winter, but some of the large cactus that can’t be covered are still at risk… RBG has through experience become a well-planned “survival of the fittiest” cactus and succulent garden, but they also keep their more vulnerable plants well protected in the winter. For their members, RBG also conducted a class in October on “Winter Prep” for their tender plants.
by Sheldon Robinson
on October 31, 2014 at 4:15 PM
After thinking about it last night, a potted garden might be suggested, which allows you to move the containers around to suit the succulent/cactus individual light, heat, and shade needs. This would also allow you to use some of the commercial cactus/succulent potting mixes that are available. These soils will provide the drainage necessary without anything special. Both cactus and succulents do not like bad drainage, or "wet feet."  
I personally can not recommend much of the cactus family around small children, as they pretty much all have various types of thorns. Even many of the succulents, have some type of thorns.  
Crassulas, Sedums, Euphorbias, Echevrias, Agave sp., and many other types of succulents can make excellent small bushes (to 1 1/2 feet high), others will be excellent as specimen plants, some of them also produce offsets which will make attractive clumps of the same plants. Community plantings in larger strawberry pots is another way to display the smaller sedums, and crassulas, and more of the unusual succulents.  
One of my recommendations is to check out a book on succulents from your local library to give you an idea of what you might like to try growing. Another place to try is The Ruth Bancroft Gardens to see what succulents, and cactus look like in a growing environment, as well as further information. The internet is another good place for information as well
by Terrij
on August 14, 2016 at 10:52 PM
I'm looking for a recipe to dry and cure fruits in An ovenhottps://
Reply by Stephen I Morse
on August 15, 2016 at 8:11 AM
I"m responding to your recent comment to the Master Gardener blog about growing a "strip garden" of succulents...  
"I'm looking for a recipe to dry and cure fruits in An oven"  
are you referring to cactus fruit or any and all fruit?  
There is somewhat limited information about drying "cactus fruit"... one site I found and looks reasonable is Desert Harvesters at but caution you to read carefully and possibly question the site if you are confused... Master Gardeners cannot vouch for the site but it does look comprehensive and promising...  
for other fruit drying in oven, this is often covered by the term "dehydration"... usually done with special equipment even in the home but can also be done on "cookie sheets" in the home oven... for more on that I recommend doing a Google search on "fruit dehydration UC" and you will find numerous links and resources on "dehydration" and "fruit drying" that have been produced by various UC resources on preserving, etc. We can vouch for those resource links...  
Good Luck... hope this works for you... if not please do not hesitate to ask again...  
UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County (SIM)
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