Halloween is fast approaching, so have you carved your pumpkin yet? Pumpkin carving is a fun seasonal tradition, and the orange squash is ubiquitous this time of year: in flower boxes, on fireplace mantels, on front stoops and glaring menacingly or donning a goofy grin when lit up as a jack-o’-lantern.
When November arrives and Halloween is again a year away, all of these pumpkins will need to be retired, but avoid throwing them in the garbage. As organic waste, they not only take up a lot of space in your bin and ensure a heavy load for your garbage handler, but they also end up in landfills, where they emit methane gas, a harmful byproduct of waste that negatively affects the environment.
Instead, here are four alternatives to help you dispose of your pumpkin in an environmentally friendly way.
Pumpkins that have not started to decay are still edible. There are endless recipes online to help you get creative in turning your pumpkin into a snack by roasting the seeds, using the flesh for a pumpkin pie and pickling the rind. Or, imagine the pumpkin bread, muffins, bars, smoothies and cookies you could make! Invite friends over for a post-Halloween pumpkin bake to get more goodies out of the holiday.
Feed the wildlife
Not much of a baker? Skip feeding humans, and use the pumpkin to feed deer, squirrels, foxes and rabbits, which all enjoy a yummy pumpkin. Cut it into small pieces, and place them around your yard to attract some hungry animals. Farm animals and pets of the small mammal variety also enjoy pieces of pumpkin.
Create a rich soil supplement by composting your pumpkin. First, remove any candles, other decorations and all of the pumpkin’s seeds unless you want to grow a few new pumpkins in your compost pile. If you’re just starting a compost pile, place it somewhere out of the way and in a place that gets frequent sunshine. Break up the pumpkin, and cover it with leaves; worms and weather will do their part to turn the pumpkin and the rest of the pile into nourishing compost to mix into your gardening soil.
Bury it in the garden
Dig shallow holes in your garden or flower beds, place small pieces of pumpkin inside, cover them with soil, and let nature takes its course. The pieces will eventually break down and enrich the soil, improving the health of your garden’s flowers and plants.