As a homesteader we think about our gardens, how we will lay them out, what we will grow, how much we should grow; but do you think about xeriscaping? What is xeriscaping? Xeriscaping is a form of landscaping that uses natural resources and plant life to reduce the need for water. What plants you use will depend on the climate/zone that you live in but prickly pear in the desert is the perfect example of xeriscaping. Prickly pear is a common name and encompasses many species. It is a member of the cactaceae family and grows throughout the southern portion of the United States from Florida to California although there are some species that are more cold hardy and can be found growing as far north as Canada. Prickly pear is perfect for xeriscaping not only because it requires minimal watering but it is edible. Our friend over at Pint Size Farm has a fun article explaining the edible possibilities of prickly pear. I would like to add just one minor caveat to the positive benefits of growing prickly pear. Once prickly pear starts growing it can be very hard to contain or remove. We already have some growing on our property so I plan to try to contain it to its current location. I won’t be propagating it as I do not want it to take over my already overgrown pasture. Prickly pear grows very well from just the pad. If you run it over with a lawn mower and a chunk ends up in the corner of the yard, don’t be surprised if you end up with an extra cactus. Have a great day and God bless!