Category Archives: Fall

A Gallery of Fun Fall Horticultural Activities

Check out this sampling of various garden related activities to do with your group this autumn. Take a look at a gallery of a variety of Cucurbit family members – pumpkins, squash, and gourds – and more fall activity ideas here.

Mini Blooming Pumpkins
Decorate mini pumpkins with dried everlasting flowers from the garden. Check out this tutorial on decorating mini pumpkins with dried flowers.

Pumpkin Planters
Carve open a pumpkin and plant your favorite cool season plants inside it. Transfer the plants to the garden when the pumpkin is finished. Check out this tutorial on planting your own pumpkin planters.pumpkin-planter_eatbreathegarden

Succulent Pumpkins
Looking for no-carve pumpkin decorating options? Embellish pumpkins with air plants (Tillandsia), bareroot succulents, preserved moss, pine cones, everlasting flowers, seed pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and more.Using hot glue or craft glue, apply a generous layer of glue on top of the pumpkin around the stem. Then add a layer of preserved moss on top of the glue. “Fluff” the moss to give it more dimension. Now your pumpkin has a moss toupee!Once the moss is secured in place, add the plant material on top. Here, we used a bareroot succulent. To do this, find your favorite potted succulent plant, like Echeveria, and cut its stem at the soil level, at the roots. Note: you may need to use your fingernail to scrape some of the soil away from around the base of the stem BEFORE cutting the stem. Or, purchase it already bareroot from your favorite florist or specialty garden center.  Apply craft glue around the leaves at the bottom of the plant, not on the stem, and nestle the succulent in place on the moss bed. Apply more succulents as your budget and supply permits. Later, the succulents can be gently removed from the pumpkin and transplanted outdoors or into containers.Start applying natural embellishments, such as wheat plumes, faux wooden flowers, and other materials, around the succulent to create the desired effect. Use other natural embellishments, like pine cones, dried magnolia cones, and preserved eucalyptus, to decorate the pumpkin. Note: when using material collected from the garden, I typically freeze the material in a paper bag in the freezer for a few weeks, just to make sure that there aren’t any insect critters crawling around.Incorporate whole star anise and cinnamon sticks. Check out more beautiful embellished pumpkins from a recent workshop below. Painted Pumpkins
Create unique pumpkin characters using a combination of paint and other creative supplies. Check out the troll… …Or the Pinocchio-inspired pumpkin… …Or the owl made out of construction paper, glue, and paint.

Halloween Planters
Have fun with Halloween-themed planters. Check out this planter with cactus growing out of a “skeleton…”  Or the decorative containers planted with succulents and embellished with a colored pebble mulch. Transplant the succulents outdoors at the appropriate time.

Tending the Garden
The garden is at the root of what we are all about. It is great to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and cooler temperatures. Sow seeds for cool season veggies. Plant cool season plants like pansies and Swiss chard in the garden and in containers for garden display. Go on a leaf collecting scavenger hunt, and then press the leaves once indoors – use pressed leaves in other projects. Harvest everlasting flowers, acorns, and the last of warm season veggies from the garden.As they say…Happy Fall, Y’all!

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Pumpkin Planters

Transform a Jack O’Lantern into a Jack O’Planter! Add a festive flair to your fall decor by transforming a pumpkin into a planted container. (Check out these festive fall activities with pumpkins.)

Supplies

Pumpkin of choice – We used your standard Jack pumpkin, but you could also use more unusual pumpkins, like peanut pumpkins or Knuckle Head pumpkins, or even gourds – whatever you could imagine using as a vessel!

Potting soil

Plants – We chose from marigolds, pansies, dianthus, Dusty Miller, Swiss chard, ornamental cabbage, ornamental kale, and mustard, in 4″ pots.

Carving knife – I prefer the carving utensils, with a cutting tool and scoop, sold for $0.97 at my local box store, over heavy duty knives. Though the handle for the cutting tool doesn’t have ideal ergonomics, it cuts in a sawing motion much easier than a knife, which can be bulky and awkward to handle.

pumpkin-planters_eatbreathegardenStep by Step instructions

Carve a lid on top of the pumpkin, around the stem. You can carve fancy shapes into the lid opening, or a simple, circle shaped lid works too. Remove the lid. Use the carving knife to remove the pulp off the lid. Set the lid aside for future use or discard.

scooping-pumpkin_eatbreathegardenRemove the pulp and seeds out of the insides of the pumpkin and discard.

Carve a drainage hole – about the size of a quarter – out of the bottom of the pumpkin.

scoop-soil-pumpkin_eatbreathegardenFill the pumpkin with soil. Gently tamp the soil to remove any air pockets. (Note: to keep soil from washing out the drainage hole during watering, you can add a piece of newspaper over the drainage hole inside the pumpkin, before filling with soil.)

planting-pumpkin_eatbreathegardenPlant the plants in the pumpkin.

pumpkin-lid_eatbreathegardenOptional – Add embellishments to the pumpkin. You can repurpose the pumpkin’s lid by affixing it with skewers to the outside of the pumpkin. (I inserted a couple of skewers to the outer wall of the pumpkin and then attached the pumpkin lid to the skewers.) OR, incorporate fall themed embellishments, like a scarecrow or spider webbing.

pumpkin_eatbreathegardenCare for Your Pumpkin Planter

Place the pumpkin planter on a pumpkin stand. This helps to keep the pumpkin elevated off the ground, which can help slow down the decomposition process (a little bit).

Water plants as needed.

When your pumpkin really starts to decompose, pull the plants out and replant them to another location in the garden. Add the rotten pumpkin to your compost pile. Who knows? You may have some pumpkins pop up in your compost next year, and then you can start the process all over again.

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