Doughnut Seeds, Spaghetti Trees & Garden Gnomes

If you came here looking for doughnut seeds, more information on the return of the spaghetti tree or how to rid your garden of gnomes, I'm sorry, but I have to say: April Fools!

I know, I wish shrubs that grew doughnuts were real, too. This year we couldn't resist getting in on the April 1 fun with a few Extension related pranks on our Facebook page.

Perhaps one of the most elaborate and well-known April Fools' Day hoaxes is the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. In 1957, the BBC reported on the successful spaghetti tree harvest in Switzerland that year. Over video of women plucking strands of spaghetti from low hanging branches, respected BBC anchor Richard Dimbleby attributed the bumper crop to a mild winter and "the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil."

The hoax was a success. Hundreds of people called in asking how to grow their own spaghetti tree, which can most likely be explained by the fact that pasta wasn't widely consumed in the U.K. at the time.

"Doughnut Seeds" – packets filled with Cheerios – are the more modern version of spaghetti trees. Any parents looking to pull a prank on their children can print these doughnut seed packets to make their own.

However, our favorite April Fool's prank is this video from Utah State University Extension on Gnome Management in the Garden in 2010. Not to be taken lightly, this hardy, invasive species is apparently difficult to control once established as shown in several time-lapse clips of gnomes moving through the garden.

"If left unchecked, they can outcompete other lawn ornaments and other parts of the landscape," Horticulture Agent Jerry Goodspeed explains with a straight face.

But where does April Fools' Day come from?

Its origins are unclear. Some historians point to the Greco-Roman festival Hilaria. On March 25, People celebrated the first day after the vernal equinox (thought to be the beginning of the year) with parades, costumes and jokes.

Another theory is the 16thcentury switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. The new calendar moved the new year from the end of March to Jan. 1. "April fools" were those who still celebrated the holiday in the spring.

Of course in the years since then, the unofficial holiday has evolved into a day of fun where you try to out-prank your friends and family. Happy pranking!