Hope Springs Eternal


I had big plans to cook and post an actual recipe this weekend, but the sad tomatoes on the deck are depressing me.

Nineteen days of rain in June alone, coupled with cooler than usual temps, has made slow growing and foliage problems for many of my poor little tomatoes — some of them the heirlooms I ordered all the way from California.

couldn’t you just cry!

If you plant a garden in the north, you know. All winter as you snuggle under your blanket, you pour over the catalogues, cosily dreaming of summer’s joy and bounty while the earth lies dormant beneath her blanket of snow. Come spring, you pour all your tender loving care into the little seedlings, planted with such high hopes. To watch them shrivel and darken and die is something akin to losing a dear friend.

Of course that’s somewhat dramatic, but this year I can almost imagine the plight of the pioneers, moving west and breaking their backs to clear wild, virgin land and plant crops, crops upon which they depended for their very sustenance, only to watch Mother Nature dash all hopes in a freak hailstorm or cloud of grasshoppers.

Last year at this time my eggplants and tomatoes were covered with fruit.
Today on over a dozen plants, I have two, count ’em two tiny tomatoes, and this only after two days of much-needed sun and warm temps.
No eggplants. No peppers. No beautiful beans or gourd vines reaching toward the trellis I carefully placed in anticipation of their climbing to the sky via my deck railing.

Moan, groan, complain… but the tomatoes in the ground seem to be growing…

marianna’s peace ~ a ‘potato-leaf’ tomato

And then I happened upon a few cucumber babies… that pleased me no end!

baby sugar crunch cucumber

Now… I wish to welcome dear Nupur back to regular blogging!! I missed you, Nupur! They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; if that’s so, I am here to flatter you most sincerely! Better than being a copycat, anyway πŸ˜‰

Over July 4th weekend I was inspired by Nupur’s lovely pasta salad. Rather than pesto I used a low-fat artichoke tapenade I found at the new Market Basket grocery store. Bright flavors and colors made this a huge hit.

whole-grain pasta salad with fresh veggies and artichoke tapenade dressing — so tasty!

I saw some small eggplants on the breakdown lane and wanted to try my hand at baba ghanouj using real *smoked* eggplant. I collected some maple sticks from the backyard and built a little smouldering fire over which I charred these beauties. I didn’t have aleppo pepper, so used a bit of chipotle instead. No pics of the finished dish because I am taking it all to work tomorrow!

eggplants roasting on an open fire… la la la…

Finally, my little curry leaf twig OOPS I mean plant (which looks nothing like this amazing specimen!) decided to sprout new leaves — proving that hope does indeed spring eternal… even in the middle of what should be summer.

hope springs eternal…

Now Nupur, I am hoping you’ll favor me with some advice for my reborn curry plant… which in its heart of hearts, wishes to become a beautiful tree like yours πŸ™‚

Also, please do go visit Rakhee in Dubai who has a yummy veg stew recipe I am waiting to try!

Always, and in spite of it all… Lake Superior beckons…

calling me home…



  1. indosungod said

    Oh the vagaries of rainfall. Here people are keeping their fingers crossed for the monsoon not to fail. Too much of a good thing this rain.

    the new sprouts in the curry leaf does give hope. Maple syrup was enjoyed by one and all.

    So glad to hear that — a very small offering in comparison, from me πŸ™‚

    Yes, grass is always greener on the other side of the fence… here I wish the June Monsoon would give up in July…

    Hoping it stays where it belongs, where it’s needed. So happy to hear from you and hope you’re still having a marvelous time! πŸ™‚

  2. Rakhee said

    thanx for including me in your recent post. a small word can do wondersssss………… i tooo love gardening but in the so called concrete jungle (a.k.a. dubai) and a full time job, its a complete no no. i wish i had a small place to grow my veggies……. sighhhh!!! 😦

    How about some herbs in a sunny windowsill, Rakhee? πŸ™‚

  3. shyam said

    I hear you – re the tomatoes, I hear you, because I’m having the same problems! 😦 I dont even have a curry leaf plant to cheer me up… waaah! Like with Nupur, I’m sending across lots of mental organic equivalent of MiracleGrow to your little curry leaf beauty, Linda πŸ™‚

    I love it Shammi — mental miracle gro πŸ˜‰ Thanks! Sorry to hear you’re having the tomato blues too — will try to send some sunshine across for you!

  4. Nupur said

    Well, I copied the pasta salad from Kalyn’s blog, so we are just spreading the love πŸ˜‰ and nothing wrong with that! πŸ˜€

    You have your hands full with the garden and the kitchen, Linda…everything looks so good. I love the idea of using the artichoke tapenade, now that’s something I’m going to copy from you! The baba ghanouj must be fantastic with the smoky grilled eggplant…you’ll have to let me know if you (and the folks at your work) enjoyed the taste.

    And my love and best wishes to that wee curry leaf baby…I hope it soaks up the sun and grows and grows.
    Have a wonderful week, Linda, your post made my day πŸ™‚

    Aw, thanks Nupur! Your baba ghanouj disappeared in a flash! Now I have got to find that aleppo pepper and make it again πŸ™‚ Have a great week yourself!

  5. mallugirl said

    i can understand ur frustrations completely. my garden is also so desolate this year.. half the plantings died and only the south facing tomatoes are harbouring on!!
    Thanks for the spice tip.. that is really a great tip.will use all the time now.

    I think we’re crying all over the northeast this year S. Hope your garden got a little respite from the rain this week. Good luck with the spice-scenting — works for me everytime πŸ˜‰

  6. mandira said

    Linda, I am in the same boat… some of my tomatoes are doing well, but most are not. Add moving to that… πŸ™‚ We have a new house, come visit us soon!

    Mandira, hi! And big congratulations — wish you lots of happiness in your new home, with lots of happy tomato plants! One of these days, will visit for sure πŸ™‚

  7. Srivalli said

    Hello Linda..I know its been ages…just dropped in to check on you..I just love your garden..how very beautiful!..

    Hi Sri, I’m so happy you dropped in! Thanks for your kind words — hope all’s well with you! πŸ™‚

  8. Pelicano said

    And then here, Linda, we are very dry…I have to keep watering but it isn’t the same…plus the very cool spring…well, my tomatoes are looking just like yours- not as far along as last year! And I planted luffas this year, and only one is big-enough to grab the trellis. 😦 I think I shall have to ration my remaining canned/dried maters from last year. But…let’s keep our fingers crossed!

    Keep ’em crossed for sure, Pel — what a difference one week of sunshine can make. If I get any surplus tomatoes this year, I will try my hand at canning them whole. All my extras from last year are in chutney πŸ˜‰

  9. Peter said

    Hi there,
    I stumbled on your blog by change. Very nice! Lovely pictures to. I raised a curry plant from seed (i had 5 seeds only only one plant now 😦 ) I live in Italy/Umbria. The plant likes the summer here but winter will be a problem. Did you keep it indoors? I live in a (don’t laugh) refurbished pigstall. I heat on wood temperature is ‘adequate’ but unfortunately i don’t have a lot of light. How did you keep your plant alive? I’m thinking of building a heated greenhouse but that is somewhat silly for one little plant. But they are curry leaves eh?

    Hi Peter, thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the blog! I haven’t had this through the winter yet. I think indoors it would do ok with light and warmth πŸ™‚ Best of luck and let me know how it grows!

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