Now that Halloween has come and gone, people have begun taking down their decorations in order to prepare for upcoming holidays such as Thanksgiving. For all the decorated pumpkins, however, there are several ways to dispose of the festive plant besides throwing them out.
You can compost them in your garden or a local community garden, or you can leave them outside for the wildlife that may visit your yard. Birds typically enjoy feeding on leftover pumpkin seeds, especially when mixed with sunflower seeds.
Before adding a pumpkin to a compost pile, remove the remaining seeds and any non-compostable decorations, such as paint or stickers. Then, cut up the pumpkin and bury the parts in a heap.
If the pumpkin has already begun to rot, it is well on its way to becoming compost. You can add additional material to the compost pile as well, such as leaves or sawdust, which will assist the process.
Add water to the pile every once in a while, and remember to rake or turn over the pile occasionally so that oxygen will get mixed in. Without oxygen, the pile may start to smell.
Many local farms or zoos may also accept pumpkins as food scraps for some of the animals. Pumpkins for Pigs is an organization dedicated to keeping pumpkins out of landfills.
They state, “Our mission is to match pigs (and other pumpkin-eating animals) with un-carved, non-inked/non-painted pumpkins to prevent them from being thrown in the landfill. Donated pumpkins are excellent feed and a wonderful treat to the animals on the farms and sanctuaries.”
They suggest that it is wasteful to throw away pumpkins when they could be reused as feed or compost.
Fifteen such farms in Texas accept pumpkin and compost donations. The nearest ones to the DFW area are in Glen Rose at Petra Hill Farm and in Commerce at Ponder Farms. You can view the complete list here.