After reading several other garden blogs I can say with confidence that weeds don’t seem to be quite as big a deal in Arizona as they are other places. Probably because of the difference in rainfall, but still, we do get them.
This is one of the ones that I see in the garden all of the time. In fact, I even pulled one of these from a potted tomato plant this summer. They grow almost anywhere. I regularly pull them from the garden, my grass, even my front yard decomposed granite.
It is actually a mesquite tree and is one of the most popular landscaping trees in our area. Properly pruned, these trees can be great shade trees, growing very tall with a large canopy. Unfortunately, depending on the type of mesquite, they can also be very susceptible to wind damage (especially if they have NOT been properly pruned). Any major wind storm is going to leave the streets littered with fallen branches or even whole trees uprooted.
For me, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering the wood of the mesquite tree provides an excellent flavor for smoking meats and one decent sized branch can provide enough wood for several batches of tasty pulled pork and even cold smoked cheddar cheese. Yummy!
The mesquite trees drop pods that are a nuisance to most home owners because they make a terrible mess in crushed granite landscaping. However, if picked before they fall from the trees (but after they dry out), the pods can be milled to produce a flour that is very high in protein and has a sweet flavor (or so I’ve read, I still need to try this). I’ve also read that the pods can be roasted and ground up, much like coffee beans and make a sweet coffee-type beverage.
The pods should be inspected for holes and should never be harvested from the ground because of the risk of contamination from animals, beetles, or a particular bacteria.
Pods can be harvested all summer long, but particularly toward the end of summer/fall time period.
Unfortunately if they pop up in my garden they won’t be producing pods, just compost. 🙂