Tag Archives: Halloween

Seedlings Ready to Go — Waiting for Rain to Stop!

Just waiting for the rain to stop so can plant marigolds, beans, and pumpkins!

marigoldsMarigolds, an annual that flowers all summer and into fall, can be started from seed easily (and cheaply if you saved seeds from last year!). I find it is best to start in a small container and then transplant. You can direct sow but birds may get them or rain may wash them away.

I had an old cell pack from something I bought at the nursery and filled with seed starting mix. Using a pencil to create a hole, I plopped a marigold seed into each cell, and watered. You can start inside under lights but it is not worth the space when you can  start outside in April and May and bring in if frost threatens. These are ready to transplant into the garden, it just has to stop raining!

beansBeans are so easy to grow you can direct sow or start in a container. Large seeds work well with jiffy peat pellets. After letting the pellets sit in a tray of water until they fully expand, pull back the netting at the top with two pencils, poke a hole, drop one bean per pellet and cover with soil.

bean rootsThese were started a while ago and have been ready to go into the garden bed but it has been raining!! You can see how the roots have come through the pellets and have interconnected themselves with other beans. When I plant these into the garden, I will separate, take off the netting, and remove the colored paper clips, which are my way of identifying the type of bean. I am starting different types of beans to celebrate this year as the International Year of Pulses (see my January article, https://pegplant.com/2016/01/25/celebrate-the-international-year-of-the-pulses-eat-more-beans/).

Pumpkins also are large seeds that are easy to grow. This one is from seed saved from last year’s Halloween  pumpkin, one seed per  jiffy peat pellet (see last Halloween’s article on saving seed, https://pegplant.com/2015/10/31/happy-halloween-and-dont-forget-to-save-those-pumpkin-seeds/). I love the way it is so self-contained but it is not quite ready to be transplanted. The large “leaves” are the cotyledons, formed during the embryonic stage. The inner piece of green are the true leaves emerging. I am sure by the time it stops RAINING, the true leaves will have grown to the point that this will be ready to transplant into the garden if it does not FREEZE again!! pumpkin seed

Happy Halloween and Don’t Forget to Save those Pumpkin Seeds!

desktop pumpkinThis past spring I noticed a small gourd-like plant in my garden that I did not plant on purpose. Curious, I left it and watched to see what it would become in the fall. Sure enough it grew to be a small pumpkin, probably from the compost pile or a bird. Not a particularly pretty one, but a unique, homegrown fall decoration for my office. In October, I cut it and put it on my desk next to the glass pumpkin jar, full of candy.

My kids are too old now to carve the large pumpkins for Halloween but last week my daughter had to purchase one to carve in her high school arts class. I did the initial gutting at home and as I pulled out the seeds, I noticed how plump and healthy they looked—too good to throw away. I decided to save a few to plant next year. They won’t produce a pumpkin as large and as fine as my daughter’s pumpkin, no doubt it was a cultivar bred for Halloween, but they will produce some type of a pumpkin that I can bring to work, just like the small one I found in the garden. I don’t know why I never thought of it before but I can grow my own desktop pumpkins just as easily as growing squash or melons in the garden. So I washed and set aside a handful of the seeds and roasted the rest for us to enjoy snacking on that evening.  Next year I will have my own homegrown desktop pumpkins!pumpkin seeds

Happy Halloween!

Yesterday I received the electronic newsletter from Hudson Valley Seed Library in New York with an image of several snapdragon seed pods as their “Happy Halloween” message. When dried, the seed pods resemble skulls, a perfect Halloween image. Naturally, I then cut my snapdragon stalks in my garden and brought them into the kitchen to see if I too had skulls. Sure enough, the dried seed pods look just like skulls with their hollowed out eyes and mouths.

snapdragon seed pods

How is this useful you ask? Halloween potpourri! Just imagine the orange of dried calendula petals, the black of large seeds or beans, and several dried skulls in a glass pumpkin. Or put the mixture in a small basket and glue more skulls to the basket’s handle with a hot glue gun.

closeup of snapdragon seed pods

Happy Halloween!!