Pumpkins are a great addition to any home and garden during Halloween- being used as garden lanterns or as a delicious soup. But what do you do with them once Halloween is over? DO NOT THROW THEM IN THE BIN!
Compost Your Pumpkin
Compost is organic matter than has been decomposed. Due to the rich organic matter and nutrients within composted material, it is perfect for the use as a fertilizer or a soil conditioner in your garden. If you are using a heap method for composting, just toss them into the pile! If you are using a more delicate method, chopping the pumpkin into smaller chunks before adding the compost will help.
Don’t have a compost heap or composting isn’t really your thing? Don’t worry, you can still increase the quality of your soil by dissing a hole in the ground, burying it and letting nature take over! Just be sure to remove the seeds beforehand otherwise you may find a few sprouting plants come Spring.
Create a Pumpkin Planter
The great thing about using a pumpkin as a planter is that they look natural and unique in your garden, whilst being completely environmentally friendly. What’s even better? The pumpkins will naturally decompose and be useful as a compost in your garden; providing essential nutrients for growth and acting as a fertilizer.
All you need to do is fill your caved pumpkin with potting soil (Check out our extensive soil range here) and either compact the soil to make your pumpkin face stand-out, or if the weather is suitable, plant your favourite plants!
Save the Seeds
Don’t just throw the seeds out when carving your pumpkin, save them! Pumpkin seeds can be eaten or saved for planting.
Eating – Scoop out the seeds into a bowl of water and separate them from the stringy flesh using your fingers. Drain using a colander and remove any further excess flesh until the seed are completely clean. Leave them to one side to fully dry out. Once dry you can roast them using any ingredients to your taste, such as honey roasted pumpkin seeds! Easy, full of vitamins and minerals and a great source of fibre, and a great addition to salads. BBC Good Food has some great tips and recipes to experiment with.
Planting – Again, scoop out the seeds into a bowl of water and separate them from the stringy flesh using your fingers. Drain using a colander and remove any further excess flesh until the seed are completely clean. Pick out a selection of the largest and most blemish-free seeds and lay out on a towel until completely air-dry. Store away for around a month and then discard any that show signs of rot or mold. Keep them stored away in a cool, dark place until you are ready to plant in Spring.
Saving the flesh and seeds to create wintery, warming foods is a fantastic way to get the most out of your pumpkin. The seeds can be used for adding to bread, cakes, and cereal bars whereas the flesh can be used for soups, curries, purées and pies. BBC Good Food has some fantastic recipes, so many to choose from, and certainly something for everyone!
The seeds and flesh can be enjoyed by all types of wildlife. All types of birds love seeds, so save your pumpkin seeds add them to a bird feeder. Small animals an beasts will enjoy the pumpkin flesh. You can place this into the soil (it is full of water and breaks down quickly) for animals to dig up or out in containers.
To turn the whole pumpkin into a bird feeder:
- Cut away the top half your pumpkin and scoop out most of the soft flesh inside. Leave and inch or two of the flesh to the rind for the birds to perch on.
- Make four holes around the side about half from the top to the bottom and push two strong sticks through. Ensure that they are long enough to reach through the opposite hole and attach four ribbons or ropes to the end of each stick. Knot the loose ends together and hook over a branch.
- Fill the pumpkin with a bird seed mix and the scooped out pumpkin seeds and flesh.
- Clean out every few days and add to a recycling pot or compost heap once it starts to rot as this could make birds sick.
If you fancy giving any of these ideas a go, or have ideas of your own, we’d love to see! Please send photos to email@example.com!