Jack Be Little 

I am a composter. All of my uncooked vegetable scraps and fruit parts, as well as egg shells, dry grass clippings and chopped up leaves end up in my compost bin. I actually have two compost bins. One is the fancy kind you purchase at a garden store or online. It stands above the ground and allows you to spin it and mix up the contents. It works great, but it can get heavy. The other one is an old trash can we drilled holes into the bottom and then just pile the stuff inside. I’ll later dump this on my garden and let it finish decomposing over the winter.

Whenever I find myself scooping out the seeds of a fruit (like cantaloupe) or a vegetable (like acorn squash), I stop myself from throwing them in the compost. I worry these seeds will plant themselves and I’ll have volunteer plants all over the place. Well, I got a little lax about this over the months leading into summer. The result was gorgeous butternut squash in the compost bin. It even produced a few before it wilted and died, probably due to us continuing to throw things on top of it.

That was good news. The bad news was a mystery volunteer I couldn’t place. All over the garden, I had these little squash like plants popping up. At first, I thought it must be cantaloupe because I dump the guts right into the bin. As the plants grew and yellow flowers appeared I thought, maybe they were too small to be a cantaloupe. Sure enough, the fruit it bore was tiny but green, so I thought perhaps acorn squash. How exciting, I’d be happy with that!

WRONG AGAIN.

Finally, I realized I have Jack Be Little’s all over my friggin garden. These are the decorative little pumpkins that are not editable. I have about fifty of them, taking up the valuable real estate. My guess was last fall after the kids painted them and kicked them around for a few months, they ended up in the compost and then in my garden.

I’m going to be a little more careful this fall. While they are cute, I’d prefer to plant things in the garden that I can eat. Also, no animal eats these either suckers; they can be planted outside of the garden. At least, that was my finding.

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