Saturday, July 22, 2017

Planting monsoons and moringas in our street-side basin

For those of you who wanted an update on how our beloved street-side basin would fare during the monsoon, this is for you!  

In the previous blog, I detailed our painstaking efforts to get rid of the well-established bermuda grass while digging our street-side basin and how, in a incredible act of optimism, we planted moringa seeds in that basin. 


We were advised (thanks Chetan!) to plant three moringa seeds in each hole and, when they had grown, remove the smallest plants so the strongest plant could flourish. But the other two were doing pretty well, so we decided to replant them in the remaining holes. 

But then it got hot, REALLY HOT. Could our delicate little trees survive the 114 degree weather?

I did everything I could think of to protect my babies from the scorching sun. I concocted a contraption for shade. I did my best to keep them moist, but those poor little displaced moringas were in desperate need of the monsoon rains. 

Finally, the monsoons arrived! 

Would our fragile little moringa survive or be blown away in the storm?

Dan rushed home to see how his basin was making out. 

It worked!  The rain was sinking into the mulch like it should. Our precious baby moringas held tight in their blanket of mulch!

We watched as the rain from the sidewalk flowed into the catchment basin, instead of into the street (like the water from the driveway shown above).

You can see the path of the water from the erosion in the pic above... (Dan's going to have to do some maintenance to shore up the sides of the basin.)

Our replanted moringa are doing fine. They have even sprouted some new leaves! 

The stronger moringa is getting too big for it's shade contraption.

It's such a delight to see everything so green from the rain. Well everything but that brown grass that Dan planted in the basin. (The desert grass works with the mulch to create a sponge to soak in the water and helps prevent erosion!) 

So I spent the morning transplanting some desert grass into the basin.  

Moving away the mulch,  I could see how rich the soil is under it and how much it maintained the moisture.  I took some of the dirt and gravel that the grass was growing in so it wouldn't have such a shock when replanted.

While I was there I spotted something sprouting on the side of the basin. This little guy...

With the rain comes new life and - our old rival - bermuda grass. 

You might recall that our whole right-of-way was overgrown with bermuda grass (see the pic to the left). They say that you have to dig four feet to get the whole root system and our basin isn't that deep - especially the raised terraces the moringa are planted in.

Catchment basins do take a little maintenance. So I try to stay on top of it. I love to go check up on our moringa trees anyway.  I'm getting to know the neighbors.  In the month and a half that we've had the basin, I've dug out maybe 7 or 8 sprouts.  (No doubt the heavy rain will double that amount.)   I try to dig deep enough so they won't come back up anytime soon. I think I'm winning the battle.  I suppose nature will win the war.  I'll just have to learn to live in harmony with it. Commit a few minutes everyday to take in the smell of the rain, feel the sprinkles on my face, and watch the birds scampering in the puddles as I dig up a stubborn sprout.




  1. Great job Jana and Dan! You're an inspiration!

  2. Thanks, Heather. We are trying to see what works in Tucson by trial and error. Trying to grow a monsoon garden now just using rainwater. Luckily, it is raining this year! :)