There's no need for your pumpkin to go in the bin at the end of spooky season!
Carving pumpkins is a great family activity that so many of us look forward to in the run-up to Halloween, but come November when all of the sweets have been eaten and you’ve managed to wipe off the last of the face paint, there’s no need for all of those pumpkins to go to waste!
Here are four top tips on using the whole of your pumpkin and keeping it out of the landfill:
Scoop out but save the good stuff
When scooping out your pumpkin to carve, save the innards and separate the stringy flesh from the seeds. Don’t throw out the remaining flesh – this will decompose quickly so will be great for your compost pile. Rinse the seeds and pat dry before placing them on a baking tray with some olive oil and whatever seasonings take your fancy. Roast in the oven at 180C for around 25 minutes or until they look a light golden-brown colour.
Don’t fancy the seeds for yourself? Not to worry, the birds will happily take them off your hands. Pumpkin seeds are high in nutrients for birds and will help them to build up energy for the winter. Repeat all the same steps as above but avoid any oil or seasoning. Just pop in the oven to dry out for 10 minutes before sharing with your feathered friends.
Composting your pumpkins
Pumpkins naturally break down really quickly so they’re great for your compost pile. The softer flesh will break down the quickest so if you want it to rot and combine with your compost fast, you can cut away the rind or chop roughly into smaller chunks.
If your pumpkin has been used as a lantern – make sure that you’ve removed any wax or other candle debris, tin foil or any other non-organic materials before composting.
We’d also suggest that you avoid adding the seeds to the pile – you might get some unwanted pumpkin seeds germinating and before you know it, you’ve got Cinderella’s carriage popping up amongst your bedding plants. If you don’t want to throw out the seeds or use them for anything else, you can grind the seeds in a food processor to add to your compost to stop them from sprouting.
Create a bird feeder with your pumpkin leftovers
The curved shape of the pumpkin is great for holding bird food at an angle that’s easy for them to reach. Gardener’s World has a great and easy way to make a hanging bird feeder out of your old pumpkin, take a look here.
Feeding pumpkin to animals
Foxes, squirrels and badgers all love to snack on a bit of pumpkin, so if you want to attract some furry friends to your garden, chopping up and leaving them a bit of pumpkin out is a good place to start. Just be sure not to leave it too long as you may attract unwanted visitors (rats and mice!).
Some wildlife centres, zoos, petting farms and animal rescues also take donations of pumpkins so it’s worth getting in touch to ask if it’s useful to them – particularly if you’ve been showing off with a big Halloween display this year.