Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Gardening

Happy Fall!

Just in time for the first day of Fall, Lucy Clark, Founder and Chief Editor of Garden Ambition, an online resource for all things garden, wrote this article for me to share with you for the upcoming Fall planting season.

Can plants be grown and survive low temperatures? Learn what happens to plants growth during the cold season and to start an efficient Fall garden.

Fall Gardening: How Does Temperature Affect the Plant’s Growth and Development

Seasons change and soon Fall will be on our doorstep. As the air gets colder, you may want to recheck your garden. Some plants that were in full bloom in spring and summer may not stand a chance when the temperature changes.

Seed germination is greatly affected by the cold temperature. Make sure you have done germination prior to the change in temperature.

Does Temperature Affect Plant Growth?

Yes. Temperature is a big factor in plant growth and development. Extreme temperature affects plant growth. Heat stress in plants causes problems with photosynthesis and root development. When this happens, expect for poor plant growth. It is also noticeable if a plant wilted due to extreme temperature or low temperature.

Temperature also affects on how fast plants grow.  Their growth and development are dependent on the temperature surrounding the plant. It also varies on what plant you are growing. Extreme heat may cause reduced plant growth while low temperatures may make plants sterile.

Once the cold temperature starts, the soil may freeze, making it hard to plant. The cold also freezes up the plant cells, causing damage and interruption of the flow of nutrients.

Depending on the temperature you chose to grow your plants, specifically for vegetables, their taste and texture may be affected too.

Temperature also plays a factor in seed germination. Warmth, water, and oxygen are needed for seeds to germinate. Seeds deteriorate over time, and if not germinated, they will die. You can say that it is impossible to grow it during cold temperatures. However, germinating seeds in Fall can be possible. Since the soil is still warm from the past season, seed germination can be done in preparation for a Fall garden.

 Preparing your garden for Fall

There are things to prepare so that you can be sure your Fall garden is a success.
1.      Seed Germination

Take advantage of the warmth of the soil that summer has left before the temperature changes. 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature of the soil for almost every seed to germinate.

2.      Prepare the soil
Once the coldness hits, it may affect the soil condition. Seeds may die if planted in a cold soil combined with a cold temperature. Before planting, make sure to clean up the soil. Remove weeds and dirt. Use a lot of compost and fertilizer or even mulch your garden to ensure that the soil will be healthy and ready when you start planting. Due to the cold weather, also make sure that your plants will receive enough moisture and oxygen.

3.      Plants to grow
There are a variety of plants that you can grow over the cold season. Vegetables, like lettuce and cabbage, are crisp and sweet if planted during fall because of the cold temperature. The effect of temperature on plants vary, together with some factors like exposure to sunlight, moisture, and the changes in temperature especially in fall season.

Pick up your favorite spring bulbs and start planting! These bulbs are a great addition to your fall garden.

Plants Best for Fall Gardening

Although temperature, especially during the cold season, may affect your plants growth and development, there are plants that are good in withstanding the low temperature. Considering the factors above, are you ready to start your Fall gardening?

Raid your favorite stores for seedlings and bulbs as they tend to go on inventory sale during the cold season.

 1. Flowers
 Spring Bulbs

Great for the cold weather. These flowers are best to plant in late August to early fall so they bloom beautifully in Spring time. Daffodils, Grape Hyacinth, Blue bells, Snow Drops, and  Tulips are available in your local market, so you can just pick your favorite ones and plant them.

Enjoy seeing these wonderful bulbs bloom into gorgeous flowers. Feel good while looking out your window and sipping your favorite cup of tea.

2. Vegetables
Most veggies are best grown in low temperatures. It is recommended to plant your veggies early August to give time for them to mature. Fall gardening is ideal to grow your fresh veggies. The cool temperature makes them sweet and crisp!

You can grow the following vegetables:







     Brussel Sprouts




     Onion leaves

Fresh vegetables from your fall garden, as pictured above, include broccoli, carrots, green onions and beets. These veggies are great to plant in fall as they can withstand the cold and frozen soil.
You can try other crops as well. Grow them well, and you can enjoy loads of fresh, super nutritious, and yummy vegetables when you harvest them.
3. Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs are a great addition to your fall garden. The soil temperature is still warm for the roots to develop; hence, the Fall’s cool air helps in growing your trees and shrubs faster.

The following are some trees and shrubs best during the fall season:

     Coffee tree

Who doesn’t love seeing this? Green grass, trees, and shrubs. You can start planting during Fall when the air is cool, and the soil fertility is great for root development.

Flowers in Fall add to the beauty of the color changes in the trees and the change in light. Enjoy colorful flowers in your garden even during Fall.

Feeling the cold Fall breeze? Don’t be afraid that your Fall gardening may fail due to the temperature. Plants grow and develop well when you properly take care of them, even in the most unfavorable temperatures. Just make sure you are well-prepared before the cold hits. So, get your gardening tools ready and start gardening!

Thanks to Lucy for this great information
in getting our Fall gardens going!

AnnMarie xoxo

I am joining these blog parties this week:

Best of the Weekend
Pink Saturday

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Only in New York

It had been 6 years of debating whether to go back or not, but my husband decided he wanted to go home for his birthday weekend, which also happened to be Labor Day weekend.

Home is New York City.

A few days in New York City can stay with you for a lifetime.

Entering New Jersey, you can see the NYC skyline. A little surreal!

He found a hotel in New Jersey that provided bus service to NYC in as little time as 20 minutes.No crossing the George Washington bridge, waiting for 2 hours to get into the city. We did have to go through the Lincoln Tunnel everyday though, which kinda freaked me out.

I survived.

Our hotel had the prettiest flowers on the walkway. Anyone know what these are?

And this was a sight for weary, cold bodies after walking the city all day......Free!

The night we arrived we drove into Hoboken, NJ for dinner and a stroll along the pier there.

The skyline from across the Hudson River was fabulous.

We were excited to find Carlo's Bake Shop, of Cake Boss fame. We loved the show, but not the baked goods in this shop so much.

Actually they were tasteless and stale.

The next day we were in Times Square with a lot of familiar and some unfamiliar sights. The NYPD barricades on the sidewalks are new, due to the recent tragedies of pedestrians being run over by wayward cars.

The police were all over and were ready, in full riot gear, hands on rifles.

One of my favorite shows to watch in the morning....

My husband got tickets to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Kind of a creepy thought to me, to see life size wax figures of celebrities and other famous people. Only a few looked like themselves to me.

Like Pharrell Williams, minus a hat.

Trump looked pretty good too (the picture came out too blurry). And how can you miss with ET? My husband, always clowning around....


Just to show you the size of the Hulk.....he was not made of wax.

We had time before our next adventure, The Ride, so we went to Chelsea Market which is in an old meat packing warehouse in the meat packing district.

I saw a few pairs of these feet around the market....not sure what they represent. Not sure I want to know.

The Ride is a sightseeing tour on a bus that is like a theatre with one side all windows that face out to the street.  

We had two girls doing the narrative on the sights and they made it so much fun with their banter back and forth and their theatrical antics. To add more fun, every now and then on the street, a person would start singing or dancing (all part of the tour) and interact with the people on the bus. The picture below shows a saxophonist with a guy that came along and started singing to the music. 

At Columbus Circle, a ballerina with a lit up tutu was dancing and bumped into a man walking. He took her in his arms and they both danced ballet in front of the fountain.

I won't give anymore of that away. It was a lot of fun.

One of the highlights of my trip was to meet Amy, who blogs at Ms Toody Goo Shoes, in person. We met in a cute coffee shop, Le Pain Quotidien across from Bryant Park.

My desire and goal is to meet as many blog friends as possible and Amy was the first! We had a nice chat over coffee and high calorie treats!

Another highlight happened that same day when we went to see the Broadway musical, Beautiful. I just love Carole King and have listened to her album Tapestry faithfully since it came out. Also, recently I saw Carole King: Tapestry – Captured Live at Hyde Park London at the movie theatre. She is in her early 70's and boy, she's still got it!!

The musical was fabulous!

Some random pictures from walking around the city.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your bananas....."

My son will take one of each please.....

No comment.

So at the beginning of this post I mentioned that a trip to NYC can impress you for a lifetime.

Our visit to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is one of those that will play back over and over in my mind.

We've all seen the pictures the media put out at the time, of the engraved names, and heard the playback of that fateful day many times. 

But to walk into that museum with hundreds of other people and have no one speaking, surrounded by pictures and soundtracks and actual pieces of the buildings, was a sobering event. It was a dreary, rainy day outside and it was dark and somber inside.

The pictures are just to give an idea of the magnitude of the museum and the events that happened on that very ground.

Ground Zero

Most striking to me were the names engraved around the reflection pool.

Todd Beamer, a hero known for trying to avert the terrorists.

I saw a few of these.......and her unborn sad

and a few of these.....

But there is always hope and this tree is a symbol of that. It is called the Survivor Tree, found in all the rubble, still alive and was nursed back to health and brought back here.

These are just a few of the many things you can do and see in New York City. There are links if you want to check any of them out.

If it's spectacular, weird or unbelievable, it may just fit in the category of "only in New York".

Monday, August 21, 2017

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Got Zucchini??

In the Northeast growing season now is the time to harvest the abundance of Zucchini in our gardens.

Here in Upstate New York we are always looking for new recipes to use this versatile squash.

I thought I had shared the recipe for this light and airy summer chocolate cake, but when I searched my blog, I guess I didn't. I did share a recipe for Zucchini Bread, which is equally delicious.

I found this recipe in my all time favorite recipe book Applehood and Motherpie. It was published in the 1980's by The Junior League of Rochester, New York.

I have not made one bad recipe out of it yet. As a matter of fact, all of the recipes I've made are phenomenal.


I actually have a copy of it and it's companion For Goodness Taste available to purchase in my Etsy shop here.

Edit 8/22 - These are sold! A sweet blogger friend couldn't resist and bought them!

You can see how airy and moist this cake is....

 and the cinnamon is an unexpected delicious addition....

Add some chocolate glaze or frosting and it is a great summer dessert. Hey, chocolate is a great dessert any time but this feels summery because of the zucchini :-)

So on to the recipe, which is pretty easy too....

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
2 cups sugar
¾ cup oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup milk

In large bowl beat sugar, oil, and eggs. Add vanilla and zucchini.
Mix dry ingredients together. Add alternately with milk to zucchini mixture. Blend well.
Pour into a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan. Bake. Allow to stand 10 minutes, then remove from pan.

Temp: 350
Time: 50 to 60 minutes

For the chocolate glaze I used my favorite go-to recipe. 
It makes a lot so I halved it. For chocolate frosting
you have to play around a little, substituting 
cocoa powder for some of the confectioner's sugar.

All Purpose Frosting/Glaze

2 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon flavoring (almond, lemon, vanilla) OPTIONAL
Hot water

Combine all ingredients except water. Slowly add a little hot water 
till frosting is smooth. 

If you find yourself with an abundance of Zucchini at the end of the summer, I hope you try this chocolate cake.