Thursday, March 28, 2013

Garden Update 03/28/2013

Well, my relationship with my plants has been rocky for the past several weeks. I can't blame it on them though. I have made some major mistakes and I will tell you all about it so you can learn from mine.  

I planted most of these sugar snap pea beauties back in the end of February. The weather was nice and I felt hopeful! However, those few days of nice weather were followed by a major a cold snap and they all died. 

These didn't get planted the first time around. I waited a few more weeks before putting them out hoping they would fare better. I planted these 2 weeks ago when the weather was nice. The same thing happened though, those few days of nice weather were followed by a cold, windy, icy cold snap and all but 2 or 3 died. I am really rooting for the 3 plants that survived and hope to get at least one delicious snap pea for all my hard work. 

2 and half weeks ago I planted all my summer crop seeds. However, to my deep dismay when some of them started to sprout the roots were covered in a white fungus. It causes damping off and weakens the plants so they can't stand up on their own. I was so disappointed!

This is NOT what your emerging seedlings are supposed to look like! If you are wondering about the brown powder on top of the soil, it is cinnamon. I read that cinnamon is supposed to prevent damping off... but it didn't work. 

For seedlings to thrive they need warmth, moist but not damp soil, and light. I had the light with my fluorescent light stands, but unfortunately, the seeds I planted were wet and very cold (they were under the lights in the guest room which stays around 55 degrees all the time). I thought that things were warming up outside when I planted the seeds but I was wrong. Just this week we have had several days  in the 40's. 

Trying to salvage the seeds that hadn't sprouted yet, I made sure I didn't water them and it took a week and a half before the soil finally dried out. More and more seeds started sprouting and I felt a little more hopeful. I also read that hydrogen peroxide diluted in 10 parts of water can kill the fungus without damaging roots, so I have watered with that twice this past week in hopes of giving the seedlings a fighting chance. It has been sunny the last 2 days I have also placed them outside for a couple hours to get more sun. 

Whew! Growing everything from seed this year has been more of an emotional roller coaster than I thought it would be. I have invested so much time into this and it is really depressing to think that I may not have anything to even plant in the garden for all my work. But, I am trying to be positive and believe that things will finally start growing well, now that I know not to water too much. 

Here we go!

Okra that is trying to sprout! The jury is still out on whether of not these will be successful. 

Borage. One of the most beautiful seedlings I have ever seen! This is a flowering herb that is supposed to attract lots of pollinators and I have read that the leaves taste like cucumbers. I am excited to try this!

Borage (left) and Cilantro (right).

Cilantro. I was very surprised when these started sprouting a few days ago, and I couldn't be more thrilled! 


More lettuce. Plus a green onion top that I randomly stuck in there a couple days ago. 


Amish Paste tomatoes. 

As you can see, all is not lost :). I also moved the seedlings into our living room which is warm when we are home. I have one on the floor and the other on an ironing board under lights while they are in the house. Seeds that I planted that haven't sprouted yet are parsley, black cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, poblanos, pepperoncinis, and ground cherries. I might plant more when the weather finally makes up its mind and stays warm :). 

Here are my beets and swiss chard that I planted in January. I think I was keeping them overwatered as well as they haven't grown much in the last month. But, I haven't watered them in almost two weeks and they are looking a lot better. From now on I will be a lot more careful of the watering situation and only water when they really need it!

Here are my lettuce plants, kale, and collards. These two trays stay outside most of time now and I bring them in when we go to bed. Hopefully I can plant these in the ground in a few more weeks when I am sure we aren't going to have another freeze!

Here are all my trays sitting out in the sun. It looks kind of ridiculous. haha I think I went overboard this year, but I learned many valuable lessons. 

Our dog Bowdon sitting outside soaking up the rays ;). 

There you have it. The lengthy and drama filled update on how my plants are doing. Hopefully my next update will be much more hopeful with pictures of thriving plants!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Forgotten Post About a Cake

Well you see... one of my sisters got married in June last year. It was a beautiful event! I made her cake, with the help of my Aunt Pam and twin sister Nicole. I wrote this post as a draft last summer and forgot about it until tonight. Oops. 

I didn't get any pictures of the process myself, but my sister-in-law Kat graciously sent me some of the gorgeous pictures she took! Kat also recently started her own blog Voyages des Joie where she writes about the wonderful creations she invents in her kitchen. I must say, all her recipes look absolutely delicious!

So, without further ado, here are pictures of the cake!

My twin sister Nicole, and I baking the cakes. We had a blast working on it together.

The reception. My Dad figured out a way to put a live tree in the auditorium, and hang japanese lanterns from the ceiling. The atmosphere was truly magical! 

The cake had 4 tiers, 2 chocolate and 2 vanilla. It was torted and filled with raspberry filling and covered with buttercream. The pearls around the bottom are rolled out of fondant, covered in bronze luster dust. 

I love the topper and how it ties everything together.  I am so pleased with how this cake turned out, and I hope you enjoyed Kat's fabulous pictures!