Sunday, November 04, 2012

sweet november: squash and succulents

Welcome to Day 4 of sweet november! I have to admit that I have a thing for pumpkins. I love them! All the different shapes and sizes make me swoon with fall happy. Here is a simple project you can do in a day that can pretty up your holiday table and/or act as sweet take home gifts for friends, family and neighbors. 
I used mini pumpkins from a local pumpkin farm. You can use any small gourd or squash as well. If you wish to decorate the outside of the pumpkin by etching a design, letter or word, do so before removing the top and seeds. 
A small cookie cutter gently hammered into the flesh of the pumpkin creates an easy outline to follow for carving a simple shape. A curved carving tool will do to remove a shallow top layer of the squash. to create the initial, i used a pencil to sketch out the letter then carved it out with the carving tool.
 Use a serrated knife to cut out the top of each mini pumpkin. If the top proves to be too stubborn to remove, you can use a spoon to scoop it off. Use the same spoon to scrape out the smaller seeds and save for roasting or your compost pile. 
Spoon in a small mixture of damp potting soil before adding your succulent. My succulents were a smidge root bound so I gently removed a good portion of the potting soil by squeezing my hand around the roots. After removing a bit of the potting soil from the pumpkins I was able to replant my succulents into their new (temporary) homes.
While quite pretty, these mini pumpkin planters will not last much longer than three days. If you give these as gifts please include a small note regarding replanting. I picked up my plants form a local garden store, purchasing a small pack for less than $5. Bought separately, these plants were $4 each and up. I now have a happy garden of succulents planted into vintage pottery, jars and tins. Happy November! 

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