The challenges and joys of an Arizona low desert gardener
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I Give Up!
In the past week, we've received more rain than the whole of last year. Rain is always welcome, but this time, there's been too much of a good thing in too short of a time. The ground is saturated, and can't hold any more water, so it just stands. We will probably get more rain in the next few days, but the brunt of the five major storms to pass through is over.
One bright spot in an otherwise gloomy week was a lone ripe tomato on my container plant. It was good--sweeter than the late spring tomatoes. This is the first time I tried to keep a winter tomato, and because we've had no frost, it worked out.
Standing water--no where else left to go. Today, we've had no rain, so it's starting to soak in a bit. The ground is boggy. I leave deep footprints wherever I step, (more work filling in when it dries) so I've stayed out of the yard. But, others have been out there....
The worst thing of all--two more huge Mesquite trees lost. The landscapers came today and made short shrift of the trees with their chipper. The cost? More than the cost of the trees when I purchased them five years ago. I've given up. I am not going to replace any of my lost trees or root-rotted cactus (if that happens.) Over these past five years, we've lost eleven of the original seventeen trees planted in the back and have two back there that are severely damaged. I should have gotten rid of the damaged ones, but they are doing ok--albeit grotesquely deformed.
The reason these latest trees were uprooted is that when the soil is saturated, any wind gust at all will uproot shallow-rooted trees. We had a few gusts the other night in the 25 MPH range--not nearly enough to cause damage in non-rainy times.
I did add a Tipu tree in October, 2008 to replace one of the four Ficus lost to the 2007 deep freeze, and also added a Palo Brea in October of 2007 to replace a lost Willow Acacia. There ain't gonna be no more replacements!
In the front, we've lost five of the nine trees we started with. None down during this storm, though. The last storm split a large Palo Verde, but the other half is doing fine. The only problem is that the trunk is weaker because of the split, and the tree is lopsided, so it's not as stable as it should be. I'm not even going to think about next year's Monsoon winds and what they will probably do to this tree.
All this late winter rain is also going to bring rampant weed growth. I can't wait!