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29 October 2014

The Pot to See You Through the Winter

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How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

This is where the story begins.

Let's start at the beginning though, shall we?

Let's start with a pot and some rotting leaves and some bulbs and some seeds and some cuttings.
Forget that it is fall and the garden is being put to bed.  Forget that ice will soon come and coat the forests.
Forget it all and let's still celebrate life indoors.  Let's find a bright and sunny window, plop our pot in that light and get planting!
How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds


How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

Step 1 -- We need something to get us through the loooong, cold winter.  We start in the bottom of the pot with some clearanced fall bulbs. (PS, when I say fall bulbs, that means bulbs that are planted in the fall and bloom in the late winter/early spring.)  NOW is the time to get them if you are planting a pot indoors.  Outdoors, the ground might already be too cool, but for our indoor pots, cheaply priced bulbs are just fine!  Thanks to Longfield Gardens for providing these sample bulbs to A Nest for All Seasons for editorial use.  You can find the Tulip Van Eijk's right HERE (they are a pretty girly pink) and the classic Muscari Armeniacum right HERE.  Think about the contrast between that deep purple and the light pink -- it is going to look SHARP this winter when everything else is sad and frozen!

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The most important thing to remember whilst planting your bulbs is roots down, tips up!

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds
Here are some planting combinations from Longfield for Muscari and tulips:

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

I went with a circle of tulips and then...

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds


PLOP go the muscari!  Tossed in all assunder around the tulip bulbs, roots flipped up and all.  
I find it easier to toss them (gently!) into the pot and THEN...


How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

...adjust any of those bulbs that need to be flipped roots down.

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

Step 2 for our winter pot is something to look at RIGHT NOW.  A pot of bulbs is fantastic come winter, but the next few weeks will be spent staring at a pot of soil.  Not fun.  As a place holder, I like to take experimental cuttings and try to grow trees or shrubs.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but in the meantime there is some COLOR.  This time, I snipped some Ginko tree cuttings and places them straight into the soil.  Let me stop for just a  minute to discuss this soil.  This is NOT just any soil.  This is leaf mold.

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds


The blessing and the curse of moving into a property that has sat for four years is a lot of fallen trees, leaf litter and overgrown plants.  The plants take a lot of work to whip into shape, but provide free cuttings.  The fallen trees take a lot of work, but provide aged firewood.  The leaves take a lot of work to clean up, but the leaf mold is like GOLD.  My indoor pot starts with two buckets of leaf mold, a little potting soil, then the bulbs, more regular potting soil, the cuttings and the seeds.  The roots of the bulbs and cuttings will immediately start basking in the wonder that is leaf mold.  Onto the cutings...

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

Ginkos are notoriously difficult to root, so I don't have a lot of faith that I will succeed in creating new trees.  However, they are quite beautiful righ now in the entryway and the leaves are lasting much longer than I anticipated (Weeks!).

Last but not least is Step 3 -- SEEDS.  The cuttings will most likely fail and I STILL do not want to be staring at a pot of soil.  Enter super quick seeds..preferably edible ones.

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

Thank you to Nest partner Burpee seeds for providing some quick growing loose-leaf lettuce for editorial purposes.  You can find Burpee seeds on the shelves NOW!  This Fordhook favorite mix started showing up within days of planting.  Very fast little seedlings!

How to Plant a Pot with Bulbs, Cuttings and Seeds by Amy Renea of A nest for All Seasons for Longfield Gardens and Burpee Seeds

Once the pot is planted, here is your schedule:

A. Seedlings will emerge and the cuttings will look pretty for several weeks.
B. If the cuttings do not root, take them out of the pot.  Finish harvesting the lettuce.
C.  Stick your pot somewhere very cold like the garage for a chilling period.
D. After 12-13 weeks, bring the pot back into warmth and light, give it a little water and wait.
E.  The bulbs should start emerging soon and OH what a show you will have on your hands!
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27 October 2014

Hidden Treasure Kid's Soap ::: Stocking Stuffer Alert!

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The same day we made Gingerbread Orange soap, my sister-in-law had a super fun idea for adding 
little toys in glycerin saps for kiddo stocking stuffers.  They were by far the favorite soaps of the day!


We started with little plastic toys like the hearts, stars and balls above...
and ended up with the soaps pictured below!!


Even more fun??  These.
Do you see something poking out of the top of that soap drying down there??


From the bottom...



It's a SHARK!!!

A few tips:  
1.  Use plastic toys only!
2.  Place toys into a greased mold before pouring the melted soap into the pan.
3. Use colored glycerin for see through soaps.  Food coloring works well!
4.  Try layering colors for extra fun!  Just let layers solidify before pouring a new color.


Did you miss my other soap ideas?
You might want to try this Gingerbread Orange soap:

 Gingerbread Orange Soap

THIS ONE has green tea and allspice for rough gardener's hands!

 Green Tea and Allspice Soap



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26 October 2014

Mia's Triple Chocolate Ghost Brownies

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Welcome back Mia for a delicious treat this month!  You are NOT helping my hips Mia!!
These are darling AND delicious!!
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Hello again, everyone! I'm so happy to be back with an incredibly tasty, yet adorably spooky, bake! These are the gooiest, most chocolatey brownies I have ever made, so I hope you enjoy them as much as my tummy is right now. With the added marshmallows and melted white chocolate, what's not to love?!

Ingredients:

- 185g unsalted butter
- 185g dark chocolate
- 85g plain flour
- cocoa powder
- 150g white chocolate
- 50g milk chocolate
- 3 large eggs
- 275g golden caster sugar
- bag of large marshmallows
- tube of black writing icing

Method:

We start off by putting the cubes of butter and dark chocolate into a small, microwavable bowl and keeping an eye on it while it melts. 
Mix together and leave it to cool while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.

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Preheat your oven to 160C fan/ 180C conventional/ gas mark 4. Line a shallow 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper.
Sieve the plain flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl to get rid of any lumps.

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With a large sharp knife, chop 50g of white chocolate and all the milk chocolate into cubes.

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Break the eggs into a large bowl and tip in the golden caster sugar. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the mix for 3-8 mins
until the mix has doubled in size and looks thick and creamy. Now the chocolate/butter mix has cooled, pour it into the egg/sugar mix.

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Gently fold in the mix, careful not to knock out the air you've just put into it! Then add the flour/cocoa powder mix
and fold in once again. It will look like this once you start: do not be disheartened, it will look fudgy and gooey soon!

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Stir in the white and milk chocolate pieces...

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Slop it in the tin and let the oven do the rest! This will take about 25 minutes, though if it wobbles when it comes out, it is not ready!
Pop it in again for an extra 5 minutes each time. All your hard work has paid off!
Put on a wire rack after 10 minutes, and then cut into squares once completely cooled (this will be a difficult wait). Aren't they beautiful already?!

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Add the marshmallows on top, and melt the last 100g of white chocolate and pour over the marshmallows.

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Draw on eyes, and away we go! Happy baking, and have an amazing Halloween!
Mia :-)

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Like Mia's recipes??  Go visit her on her blog, follow along with her on twitter or leave her a comment here at the Nest!  
Everyone loves a little comment love!  

Show Mia a little love and click the photo below to visit HER BLOG, check her out on  TWITTER or PINTEREST

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