New (nearly) year means new adventures!

New (nearly) year means new adventures!

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re all having magical holidays!

Today’s post is a super quick one to let you guys know about my newest venture: The world of YouTube.

Home Grown Happiness, the blog is mainly gardening advice and tips, with the odd recipe or craft idea thrown in. My YouTube channel, on the other hand, is going to have a more personal take. A peek into my life, garden and adventures with my two little guys.

There’s only a little bit on there at the moment and I’m definitely still learning about how to edit videos and not sound like an idiot on camera. 🙈

In the meantime, thanks for all your support!

Happy gardening,

Elien x

Christmas in a Jar: Hot Chocolate Three Ways

Christmas in a Jar: Hot Chocolate Three Ways

Time for another Christmas in a Jar post! This one is a goodie (not just because it has mini marshmallows…)

This gift in a jar is for the sweet tooth in the family. It’s homemade hot chocolate powder and mini marshmallows, so all you have to do is add hot milk. Presented in a recycled jar and finished with some festive ribbon. Perfection! You can attach a little label to it too to show the ingredients.

I have three hot chocolate varieties to choose from so you can customise them to suit your friends and family’s tastes: White Chocolate Hot Chocolate, Gingerbread Hot Chocolate and Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cornflour
a pinch of salt
1 1/s tsp ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp  ground nutmeg

Sieve all ingredients together and pour into a jar, alongside some mini marshmallows.

To Serve: Add 2-3 heaped tablespoons to one cup of milk. Heat the milk and hand whisk it while heating to break up any lumps. Take off the heat when it is just starting to simmer. 

White Chocolate Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

150 grams white chocolate, finely grated
1 cup milk powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp cornflour

Sieve all ingredients together and pour into a jar, alongside some mini marshmallows.

To Serve: Add 2-3 heaped tablespoons to one cup of milk. Heat the milk and hand whisk it while heating to break up any lumps. Take off the heat when it is just starting to simmer. 

Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cornflour
a pinch of salt
1 1/s tsp ground chilli
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Sieve all ingredients together and pour into a jar, alongside some mini marshmallows.

To Serve: Add 2-3 heaped tablespoons to one cup of milk. Heat the milk and hand whisk it while heating to break up any lumps. Take off the heat when it is just starting to simmer. 

Summer in the Garden- December to do List

Summer in the Garden- December to do List

Sow this month: Radishes, Beetroot, Carrot, Spring Onion, Corn, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce, Silverbeet

Plant from Seedlings: Chillis, Capsicum, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Cucumbers

We really are on the way to a record-breaking hot summer! Water restrictions in Wellington have already been implemented and I don’t know the last time I saw a rain icon on my weather report.

You may need to reduce your watering as per request from the local council, but unfortunately, your plants don’t take this request lightly! They need water, especially when it is this hot so it is your job to do all that you can do give it to them in the best, most efficient way possible that is within the water-use rules.

Keeping your soil moist

Keep that mulch piled on! This will help keep the soil damp for the days you can’t water.

You can also add in Debco Saturaid which is a natural soil wetter. It’s made from coconut fibre and helps to draw the water down to the plant’s roots. It will help avoid runoff too which is crucial in hard, dry clay soils where so much water can be wasted!

For a thirsty plant, dig a small container of some sort (that has holes in the bottom), into the soil next to the plant’s roots. Now when you water, the water will go straight to the plant’s roots and avoids water wastage. This also helps plants like tomatoes and zucchini that don’t like their leaves getting wet, as this can spread diseases. 

Vegetables Care

Certain things will be ready to harvest now.  If you have some beans, cucumbers, tomatoes or zucchini ready, pick them to encourage the plant to produce more flowers.

Take extra care of your tomatoes. Pinch off the laterals to ensure good airflow and encourage the plant to produce more flowers instead of leaf. Keep a close eye on them to watch for any diseases or pests.

Keep on sowing lettuce, radish, carrots, beets, and spring onion your summer salads. Keep in mind that if you are direct sowing, you have to keep the seeds moist or they won’t germinate. Covering the seeds with a sheet of damp newspaper or a thin layer of mulch can help. Make sure that if you are using newspaper, you remove it once the seedlings emerge from the soil.

Liquid Feed

Keep up the liquid feeding, about every two weeks to encourage healthy growth. Tomato liquid feed (Homemade or store-bought)  is suitable for all plants where you are harvesting the fruit, not the leaves.  A seaweed fertiliser or a weedy tea is a great general liquid feed suitable for all vegetables and fruit. A manure based liquid feed is good for all your leafy greens.

Make them all here

Flowers

Remove the dead heads from your spring flowers so they put their energy into the next growth spurt. Sow annual flowers in any bare spaces you have. Keep attracting those beneficial bees and bugs to create a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

Compost

It’s hot, so your compost will be breaking down faster than usual. Keep topping it up with layers of greens and browns (nitrogen and carbon) and add the odd small stick to help with aeration.

If your compost is full, start a new pile. Cover the old pile with a burlap sack or tarpaulin and let it sit and break down over summer and autumn, ready to be added to your garden beds next winter.

Enjoy yourself

This gorgeous but scorching weather means gardening in the middle of the day is impossible! So, enjoy slow relaxing evenings with a beer in hand, where it’s perfectly acceptable to garden until 9 pm!

Happy Gardening

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