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 "Tales From the Cacti Cube"

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Charlie



Number of posts : 118
Location : 20k S of Coffs Hbr NSW
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:20 pm

450! Thats a lot of saving. Poor guy, it must have been heartbreaking!

I suppose that if he was planning to raise them all under similar conditions it may not matter all that much if theyre mixed up. By the time they're ready to pot up it'll probably be pretty easy to work out what they are. They have to reveal their identity eventually.

You might develop new skills in seedling id!
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:02 am

Well at this point the only identifiable ones ate the Blossfeldia Wink
I have a number that I have started grafting so that will at least identify a few of them in 3 to 6 months.
My new set up is allowing me to do most of my farming of root stocks in the tunnel I just built. This will free up room for another thousand grafts in the cube. Shocked
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:40 am

So if you put the grafting stock elsewhere you'll have space for 3000 grafts in the cube?

Its a heck of a lot of plants! Plenty to choose from if you want to be make selections. Perhaps there's some commercial possibility as well!
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:52 am

It's not a commercial venture, more like 'extreme hobby gardening'.In order for me to be able to enhance the characteristics that I want to work on, and to continue the search for additional crests & variegates, I have to plant seedlings in great numbers. Some of the studies on that sort of thing figure that a natural crest occurs in only 1 out of 50,000. So with this extra space, I can do larger numbers, and the excess can end up in the tunnel. It is not so much trouble in the warm months, but part of the reason for having the cube is that I can keep a large number of plants growing through the winter. So come the cold season I have to limit the number of plants that get to stay warm.
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:55 am

3000 would give you a fair bit of choice. What happens to the ones you'rre not so interested in - chuck them out to make room for more perhaps? I figure that you might have to be pretty ruthless if you're looking for certain characteristics.

1 in 50000 is an interesting number, With the numbers involved it looks like you have a fair chance of finding one. I suppose crests are fair bit rarer than variegates.

Would you use selected plants for more seed production? If its possible to speed up the flowering, then one of the main barriers to doing that sort of stuff with cacti is removed (or at least lowered heaps). Which would mean that a breeding and selection 'program' is a real possibility.

There's species I'd like to try this on. Its pain that I have to move house - Im supposed to be packing up now! (not sitting here drinking coffee!) But I guess there's still things I can do - plant seeds , get the peres cracking etc.!

cheers
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:35 pm

I actually have a special way to get all of my cacti, and most of my succulents to go through two flowering cycles each year, nearly doubling my annual seed production. The 3,000 figure for cacti in the cube does not account for the number of seedlings in trays. If you count those, then I would estimate there are around 15,000 cacti in there currently. Now there's things that can be done to improve odds for cresting and variegates. Using some of the methods that I have been researching, I have managed to come up with a fair number of variegates. While I cannot duplicate the results in every species of cacti (not yet anyhow), the number of variegates that I am producing from normal parents is far above the normal figures. I have managed during the course of this year to produce 4 crests, of which two reverted, and at least one of the others is now stable.
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:11 pm

The numbers just keep getting bigger! 15000! There's 23 under my light!

I don't know much about inducing flowering in cacti. I'm guessing that photoperiod might have a role. But there'd be other things involved - some Rebutias need a cold winter/dormant period for best flowering. I've read that its difficult to get them to flower in the tropics for this reason.

The only thing I know about crests is that they're the result of an elongated apical meristem. It becomes a line rather than a 'point'. Also that they may be caused by injury or genetic change. I have no idea what might cause variegation.

Given that the crest odds are 1 in 50000 it sounds like you are well ahead of the game with 2(4) crests this year. So the methods must be working!

Just out of curiosity, roughly what are the normal chances of finding a variegate (at least in the spp you've looked at)?

Im interested in breeding cacti for their flowers and all this sounds very promising! Im gonna have to do some homework on all this.





















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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:50 pm

Variegates can come up for different reasons. In some kinds of Astrophytum, I have found that if you pollinate one, with another variegated parent, you may get up to %20-%30 of the seedlings to show some degree of variegation. The problem with this though, is that many of them do not have a good pattern. It may be just a thin stripe up one side, or even just a patch on one area that the plant grows out of eventually. Some have so little chlorophyll that they cannot survive on their own roots at all. It's finding plants that have a balanced, and aesthetically pleasing pattern that is the goal. So even when you have a set source of variegated seeds, you might only get 1 really desirable plant from a hundred or more seeds.
As far as the actual mechanics of variegation, there are 3 kinds that I am aware of, and they differ based on the area of growth in the cactus itself.
I've killed a lot of cacti in the processes of learning the hows and whys of the non-standard forms, and it is finally starting to pay off.
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:13 am

Been reading about some of these things tonight. One thing i found was that they have recently discovered that variegation is used by some rainforest plants as a defence. (They didn't look at cacti) Apparently the variegation makes the plant look sick, so predators are discouraged from eating it. The trade off, of course, is the reduced ability to photosynthesise. Maybe some cacti do it for the same sorts of reasons Who knows!

I also dug up a paper on the induction of flowering in plants from the tropics. Theres a section on cacti. They looked at 9 spp. including Ariocarpus agavoides, A.kotschoubeyanus, and Rebutia fiebrigii. I haven't really read it yet. But I did notice a bit where they lengthened the photoperiod (8.3 to 10.5h) for a R. fiebrigii, and it then flowered 3 weeks thereafter. They didn't just look at photoperiod, but the total amount of solar radiation received as well.

I suspect you've been down this path before!

Though as I understand it, its more the length of the dark period thats important for flowering. (at least as far as the build up of certain phytochromes are concerned). Hmm! I can see all this leading to some very interesting possibilities with the timing!



Last edited by Charlie on Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:42 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To add yet more.)
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Hellonasty
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:24 pm

IXOXI wrote:
Variegates can come up for different reasons. In some kinds of Astrophytum, I have found that if you pollinate one, with another variegated parent, you may get up to %20-%30 of the seedlings to show some degree of variegation. The problem with this though, is that many of them do not have a good pattern. It may be just a thin stripe up one side, or even just a patch on one area that the plant grows out of eventually. Some have so little chlorophyll that they cannot survive on their own roots at all. It's finding plants that have a balanced, and aesthetically pleasing pattern that is the goal. So even when you have a set source of variegated seeds, you might only get 1 really desirable plant from a hundred or more seeds.
As far as the actual mechanics of variegation, there are 3 kinds that I am aware of, and they differ based on the area of growth in the cactus itself.
I've killed a lot of cacti in the processes of learning the hows and whys of the non-standard forms, and it is finally starting to pay off.

Yes variegation is most definitely genetic and and WILL be passed on (in varying %) when creating hybrids, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe this is correct for nearly every species of cacti. I have not yet found an exception.

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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:14 pm

This is true, but there are other ways to get variegated cacti, including a couple ways which do not require crossing between species.
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:39 am

I know that mosaic and mottle viruses can also cause variegation. And that there are MVs which affect cacti, but I dont know much more about it than that.

(Trying to keep my posts down to a reasonable length!)
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:33 pm

Just a little update on one of my grafts growing in the Cube.
I think it is coming along wonderfully.

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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:56 am

I only have limited experience with seedling grafts, but even to my inexpert eye that looks really healthy, and like its growing solidly. Quite a beast! Just out of curiosity, how old is that one?

cheers
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:17 pm

I will have to go look at the exact date, but I suspect I planted the seed in July or even August.
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:06 pm

That seems really fast!
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:16 pm

I have been working to maximize growth in my grafts. Even just this last year gone past I have worked out new processes to aid the growth. If you go to extreme measures you can take most cacti from seed to flowering size in under 200 days, and some can even reach that size in under 100 days. To do so requires a lot of specific equipment which is both costly and hard to get here in Australia. Once it is running, the cost in electric and upkeep (mainly keeping the right temperatures and airflow) is very high as well. Most of what I have growing in the Cacti Cube is growing at around 40% of it's full potential, but at a fraction of the cost and still FAR faster then standard propagation.
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Charlie



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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:44 am

It sounds as though you have almost complete control over their physical environment. I tried to think of what variables might be involved. Temperature , airflow, various aspects of the light regime. I guess you could add humidity maybe even CO2 to the list. There could be other things, but i couldn't think of them.

Of course that's only the top half of the plant. Soil temp, makeup and moisture are all important too I guess.

I can imagine that a set up like that would use a fair bit of power. But like you say, for a few extra bucks each week its well worth it in terms of the results.




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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:44 pm

Update on the Cacti Cube.
The experiment was a success, and as such the Cacti Cube is being disassembled.

What?!?!?
Well yes, taken apart completely. It is gone.

Why would I do such a thing?
Well, because it had to be removed so that I could build Cacti Cube 2.0  affraid 

2.0 will be bigger, better, and even has an internal watering system being built, along with floor drains. Just outside of it, a full grafting station is being built which includes a sink and proper lighting.

For it's final update, I'm adding in one of my best successes (It even took 1st Place in the Grafted Cacti section of the NSW Fall Competition).


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SneakyCuttlefish
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:17 am

Wow that's really cool IXOXI. Sounds like it has been a really ambitious project so far

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Walker87
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:25 am

What an amazing effort and such an interesting thread to read!
It's always nice to see someone take a hobby to the next level, I find it really inspiring!
Well done IXOXI ... Absolutely amazing undertaking and you've had some spectacular results.
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:46 am

That's a really nice plant IX, you will have to update your avatar Smile

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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:55 pm

Actually HN, I would have already updated it with the new photo, but we were headed out last night to a concert and I was getting the evil eye for still being on the computer.  Evil or Very Mad 
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IXOXI
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PostSubject: Re: "Tales From the Cacti Cube"   Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:01 pm

Thanks everyone - I am hoping to have much more regular updates for the next gen of this experiment.
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