Thursday, December 28, 2017

After the freeze

I had just finished posting my last blog celebrating our flourishing moringa trees when BAM! someone asked me how they did in the sudden freeze. I wandered outside to look - thinking I might find a few wilted leaves.  I am still reeling from what I found. All the branches and leaves were frost bitten and drooping like stick figures in a hangman game.

By the next day, the flowers had dried on the branches. I tried one. Blech! It tasted awful. I hoped that the hearty pods would make a comeback.  But a few days later they shriveled up and died, too.   

I shared my disappointment with my mom. How would I face the neighbors who had watched me lovingly nurturing my moringas since they were little. Even when it was time to trim them back so they could branch out, I didn't.  I wanted the neighbors to see how well they grew in Dan's catchment basin. Now the whole neighborhood can see my Charlie Brown moringa trees. Mom asked if I was going to share how they were doing on our blog. "I think you should," she said. But was there anything positive I can take from this experience, any lessons to impart? 

They say the best lessons come from failure.... I certainly have my regrets. Why didn't I listen to the guy on Tucson Backyard Gardener who warned us that it was time to harvest the last of the leaves? Why didn't we cover the whole tree instead of lamely wrapping a sheet around the trunk? Dan said that it was important to see how this tropical tree would fare in freezing weather. The answer is clear. They don't. I suppose that is why some people grow their moringa in pots, so they can take them in out of the cold. But I've also read that the pot stunts their growth.  

If we had potted them we wouldn't have had the abundant leaves that we enjoyed every day. Dan wouldn't have been able to grab his daily moringa supplement while out walking the dog. Towards the end (sob), I was adding them to everything: soups, tomato sauce, calabacitas, eggs... I enjoyed moringa tea everyday - iced tea with fresh orange juice or a hot cup to make me feel better when I was sick... I even brought some to an ailing friend. Ah, the memories...  I wouldn't have missed it for the world!  (Better stop before I break into song.) 

We plan to prune what's left of our moringa down to a stump so it comes back as a bush. I hear they will come back next growing season with even more branches and leaves. To everything there is a season. (There I go again with the songs...) 

Yesterday I harvested some of the dried leaves from the branches. (See pic at top of page.) They came off easily.  We seeped our own blend last night and shared a lovely cup of tea. It was even better than the tea from the fresh leaves!

And I won't regret what I did for love.


  1. Wow, that freeze did hit us all! Fortunately, we weathered through it just fine. Hopefully that moringa will come back next year! :)

    1. Thanks, Sandra! It did come back stronger than ever!