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Once a year this neighbor prunes their nopal/prickly pear cactus and sets out cuttings which go really quick (thank you mystery neighbor!). This year I was at the right place, at the right time and with the right person – great. I love Nopal. In the city I see it popping up over fences, fruiting and showing off its bright yellow flowers. And in the country I’ve seen it planted as a hedgerow to keep people out of the orchards. If you ever exit off of I-5 in Southern California you’ll see Nopal everywhere. It even has medicinal uses like lowering blood sugar levels, making it a friend to folks with Type 2 Diabetes. The fruit and the pads are both totally delicious and readily available already skinned and diced in many bodegas around here. I’m probably going to baby the section I picked up and mix a soil with perlite that I have left over, but I’ve seen my neighbors just jam it into the super clay heavy soil and it has thrived. I’ve noticed that when people plant with confidence that plants respond by thriving, I think they like decisiveness!

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