August on My Deck

Yikes. It’s been a long while since I’ve updated. Obviously an awful lot has happened in my gardens since my last update. The weather has been the strangest this spring/summer of any year I can recall. It has been wetter, cooler and greyer. As a result, some plants have grown taller and bigger than ever before while others are stunted and sad.

On the deck: I’ve been enjoying tomatoes for a few weeks now. The Slava plant has produced several medium sized fruit while the Sunrise III has pumped out a steady supply of bite-sized tomatoes. There’s still lots more in production. I harvested my first Purple Prince today!

The two tomatillo plants on the deck have been very prolific this year. I can’t believe I’ve already picked a large handful of ripe fruit! I started just as late as every other year yet in past years I was always concerned I wouldn’t get ripe fruit before the first frost. Go figure.

The lemon cucumber plant was beautiful this year. It quickly produced one perfect cucumber. How we savoured that one delicious specimen. Tasty! Then it started to get cold at night and the plant started to falter. The leaves aren’t quite as happy as they were but new baby cucumbers are developing on the vine. Fresh cucumbers soon!


The basil too has been faltering over the last week. But you should have seen it a few weeks ago! The purple bush basil is particularly lush and gorgeous. I’ve let it produce a few flowers because they’re so pretty. Here’s a photo of me holding a bouquet of various basil cuttings. This includes: Mrs. Burns Lemon, purple bush, African Blue, red rubin, dark opal and Siam Queen thai.


My sweet pea put out its first bloom today. I started the seeds late. It’s supposed to be a black flower but it came out looking more like purple. At least it smells good.

This strange weather has also been ideal for certain bugs. Leafhoppers seem to be everywhere this year. I discovered an infestation on my fingerling potatoes. I see them hopping around everywhere at the community garden plot. The three striped beetle has been a regular on the tomatillos in past years (but did little damage) but this year they really made an appearance. The larvae were biggest culprits chewing a few leaves on my ground cherry vine (have I mentioned that they are ripening already too?!) and my tomatillo. They really had a field day on the nicotiana alata. That’s where I first discovered them munching away on fresh leaves. The larvae in this photo are small compared to some of the really gluttonous ones. Unpleasant.

But where there has been trouble there has also been a contingent of garden guardian angels. Check out the lady beetle larvae.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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6 thoughts on “August on My Deck

  1. Gayla, I know I say this every time but your photographs are just fabulous. I could look at them all day! Something about the light and focus always looks right.

  2. The basil bouquet is gorgeous. I can imagine how wonderful the fragrance is, too. Thanks for the beautiful pics.

  3. Which digital camera were you playing with for these (awesome) shots… Do you use a wide angle lens? The depth of field is so minimal but you’ve used it so beautifully.

    Oh yeah, and your plants… well, let’s just say I’m having major tomatillo envy right now.

  4. Speaking of weather & bugs…I have had so many slugs! Monster slugs in the front. Luckily they’ve stayed away from the veggies, but they’re wrecking havoc in the front.

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