Now that Spooky Season has come to an end, Turkey Season is upon us! But what about poor Pumpkin Season? If you have a pile of abandoned Jack O’ Lanterns and are not keeping your pumpkins for Harvest decorations, we recommend the following sustainable ways to repurpose your pumpkins:
- The easiest – leave your pumpkin with the top off in your backyard and watch as critters like squirrels and chipmunks feast on the pumpkin seeds and pumpkin flesh.
- Compost your pumpkin in you or your neighbor’s home compost bin! If you don’t have one, consider reaching out to your local gardening group. Odds are a member may compost and be glad to take that pumpkin off your hands.
- If you have whole pumpkins that are still in good shape, consider using them to make pumpkin puree or cooking them in a yummy dinner recipe like pumpkin soup!
- Repurpose your pumpkin as a planter. Although it will decompose, it will make a great temporary display for fall favorites like mums!
- Reach out to a local farmer or homesteader and see if they would like your pumpkins as a treat for their livestock. Pumpkins are a great treat for pigs, goats, cattle, and even horses.
- Save your pumpkin seeds – but instead of eating them yourself, dry them and mix them with wildlife seed mixture and place on your platform feeder for birds to enjoy. (Note: please do not add any salt or seasoning)
Although it may seem like a good idea, please don’t leave pumpkins in any public parks. Feeding wildlife or disturbing a naturalized area is never encouraged and can even be considered illegal dumping. Likewise, in some cases it can negatively affect complex ecosystems, especially when 300 of your neighbors are doing the same thing.
Blog Author: Kairsten Nitsch, Watershed Coordinator Cuyahoga AOC
Images obtained from Flickr.com