The Deck Garden, Some Bartered Tomatoes, and a Paloma Cocktail….Life is Good!!

My deck garden is a mix of gratification and disappointment this year. After last year’s amazing bounty, I was expecting something similar, but I planted a little bit late, and we haven’t had nearly the sunshine we had last year. The veg trugs on the back deck are rather pathetic: even my zucchini has barely grown and the bean plants I planted seemed to all dry up within about a month. The pepper plants haven’t grown a bit, nor have the tomatoes. AND MY CARROTS AND BEETS ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO BEHOLD.

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Even my arugula, which was so amazing last year, is pathetic!

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And look at these terrible tomatoes and peppers!

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The front deck, however, is rather brilliant (with a few exceptions): my butter lettuce and romaine are growing gangbusters, as is the kale and chard I started from seed. The mesclun mix bolted even before any good leaves developed, as did the spinach, which I tore out in disgust.

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I’ve even staggered them so the planters are ripe (does leafy stuff get “ripe”?) at different times:

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Oddly the kale I’m growing from seed at the front is doing much better than the kale I’m growing from plants at the back. It might just be too hot at the back for a cold-weather plant.

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James and I were at a dinner party on Saturday evening, and I happened to mention my terrible luck with tomato plants. Another of our neighbours, Chris, mentioned that he’s been producing a bumper crop, and when I registered jealousy, he said he’d bring me a bowl….which he did the next day (along with a couple of his amazing peppers!).

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The tomatoes are called “beefhearts” because of the little point on the end and they are ZOMG delicious–so, so succulent!

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I promised Chris that I’d bring him a couple of baguettes in return, and so I baked up a loaf of jalapeno-olive-cheddar and a loaf of whole-wheat seed bread and James brought them over this afternoon. Ya gotta love the island barter system!!

Oh, and our flowers are going gangbusters…especially the marigolds, which I grew from a seed packet my dad gave me (he’d received it as some kind of thank you for donating money to something or another):

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And that refreshing-looking beverage is a Paloma–my new jam! It’s equal parts tequila (which I’d never tasted until this summer!), grapefruit juice, and soda. Add a squeeze of lime and a teaspoon of sugar and pour it all over ice…and drink up, baby–it’s delicious!!