I was going to write a totally ordinary spring gardening post. Then, at about 7:30 last night, this happened.
There's really nothing like being inside your house, a foot or two from the back wall, when you hear two gigantic crashing noises in close succession, coming directly from your backyard.
So we went outside and discovered this.
That's our pineapple guava tree.
It had rotted enough at the root for its weight to tear it at ground level. I imagine the first noise was the initial tear and the second was the impact.
This one is foreshortened, but it gives you a much better picture of the breadth of the crown. It spans almost the entire width of the backyard.
Did it hit the house? No. We were super lucky there. But it did get within about a foot of the back door. There are a bunch of branches resting on our meyer lemon tree, right behind the back porch slab. The lemon tree seems okay so far.
Needless to say, this trumps my newly planted seedlings and mole-stolen tomato plants. (This year we suddenly have a mole. I am pretty annoyed about it stealing an entire tomato plant. It was yanked straight down into the ground and the roots eaten entirely. Only a pitiful tuft of leaves were left peeking out through the top of the soil. I was too mad to take pictures. BUT ANYWAY.)
I'm happy not to have to deal with 100 pineapple guavas per day for the entirety of October and November anymore, but otherwise, this is not a great situation. Our backyard is going to be much, much sunnier than it has ever been before, even if our landlord decides to plant a new tree. This could be good for growing sun-loving plants in the back bed, but not so great for the temperature inside the house, and definitely not good for soil moisture retention. And losing this massive crown of flowers is going to be terrible for the pollinators in the neighborhood.
For those of you keeping track, here's the tally of house catastrophes in the past 5 months:
- roof leak
- furnace breakdown
- no heat for a month over the holidays
- refrigerator breakdown
- mold influx
- gigantic fallen tree
- and also we're supposed to be having a full roof replacement soon.
In actual garden news, we have one single solitary volunteer tomato plant this year. It's a Caspian Pink, which is perfect for our partially shaded main bed. I think a couple other guys may be volunteers too, but the location suggests that they're red peppers. That's actually even better, since I didn't buy any red pepper plants and have no intention of starting any at this point. Bell peppers really don't produce that many fruits per plant -- I got four total last year. By contrast, our yearly jalapeño harvest is always gigantic in number, even if the chiles themselves are small. I'm definitely going to keep putting those in as long as we live here.
I got two tomato plants (one of which has officially been eaten by the mole) and two jalapeño plants. I may get a few more tomatoes and plant them up in gallon containers, for strategic mole-outwitting purposes. Otherwise, I think I will start a bunch of green bush beans in the next week or so. I have some scarlet runner beans and cucumbers in the back of my mind too. So it's essentially my usual garden lineup: lots of tomatoes and spice, plus a handful of bits and bobs.
Drought is still a definite and serious concern. I think a dry-farmed tomato experiment might be a good idea. This depends on the moles, though. Any tomatoes in containers are going to need water all summer, and need it seriously.
What is happening in your spring garden? Hopefully nothing this exciting.