Yawn. Stretch. Throw back the covers and stumble out of bed. Dare I say spring is here? (First, I knock on wood, because it’s probably too early to expect that we really won’t have any more snow). But I’m hopeful. Over the past few weeks here in the north, it’s very much like the earth is just waking up from a long winter’s nap. The last of the snow disappeared within days of a March 1st snowstorm, the winds blew, and now I’ve spotted the beginnings of tulip, daffodil, and crocus leaves bursting through the soil around my yard. Cue hours of drizzle, steady enough to tap tap tap on the windows at times, and that’s just the seasonal nudge I needed to put me in the mood to plant some seeds.
Luckily, we had a bumper crop of Howden pumpkins last fall, so I saved some seeds. After carving pumpkins last October, we roasted some of the seeds and spread others out to dry, placing them in an envelope and then storing it in a cool, dry place over the winter.
I made my own newspaper seed pots and added soil. These pots are great because they are easy to make, and, once the seedlings are big enough and the outside soil is warm enough, they can be planted right in the ground, where the paper will decompose. Detailed instructions for how to make these clever pots can be found in The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book, but here’s how in a quick and dirty photo essay of sorts:
Set the pots in a tray or bowl and then fill each to within a couple of inches of the top with potting soil. Use your finger to “drill” three holes as deep as your first knuckle, evenly spaced in each newspaper pot. Drop a seed in each hole, cover them up, tamp down the surface of the soil and spritz until evenly moist with water from a spray bottle or plant mister. Place in a sunny windowsill and check your seedlings each day. Keep soil evenly moist by spritzing with water daily. Seeds should sprout in a little over a week!
While you’re waiting for your seeds to sprout, I’ll be crossing my fingers that my pumpkin seeds will take, and we’ll have a plot full of big pumpkins again this year. After we gave several pumpkins to friends for carving and carved our own, we still had three pumpkins left. I was hesitant to eat them, as I thought they’d be tough and tasteless, but I cut them up, roasted the pieces, and stored them in ziplock closure freezer bags. I just finished the last of the pumpkin a week ago! Over the long winter I made several batches of pumpkin muffins, curried pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pie, and these really yummy pumpkin scones. Nothing like making the harvest last!
For more fun gardening projects and recipes, check out my two gardening books, The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book and Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps. Happy Spring!