Pumpkins are a sure sign of fall. With over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins produced each year in the U.S., you’re sure to see these orange orbs on porches, in homes, and decorating sidewalks. But what happens to them when the trick-or-treaters are long gone and pumpkins have graced your stoop for too many cool nights? There are a number of things you can do to repurpose your pumpkin and help out our environment, so don’t throw them away. Use these five helpful tips to give your pumpkins extra life.
1. Compost it.
Don’t throw them away! Composting your pumpkin is an easy way to add nutrients into your soil for the spring season. Don’t forget to take out all the seeds so new pumpkins aren’t growing in your compost pile.
Don’t have your own compost? A quick Google search will provide you with local services or drop off sites in your area. Here are some local companies throughout Michigan that can take your compost.
- West Michigan – Good Sweet Earth, Wormies, New Soil
- Northern Michigan – Carter’s Compost
- Mid-Michigan – City of Ann Arbor
- Southeast Michigan – Midtown Composting
No compost services in your area? You can easily start your own DIY compost pile with a few simple items.
2. Feed the animals!
Cut the pumpkins into pieces for the wildlife. Make sure they are far enough from your house as they are bound to attract mice and moles. Have you ever seen the video of the porcupine eating pumpkin? Watch it and you could capture your own furry friend enjoying their snack. Other animals that enjoy pumpkin are deer, rabbit, squirrel, chipmunks and groundhogs. Give them an early Thanksgiving dinner. Check with your local zoo to see if they accept pumpkin donations for the animals who enjoy eating and playing with them.
3. Make a “snack-o-lantern.”
Feed the birds! Does your pumpkin already have eyes and a mouth cut out? Perfect. Fill the pumpkin with bird food and hang from a tree, or just set it out as a planter on the porch or backyard. You can also use a pumpkin without a face to feed some friendly birds. Watch the video below to see how easy it is to upcycle your pumpkin.
4. Plant the pumpkin seeds and save the bees.
Squash bees love pumpkin flowers. You also will save money on purchasing pumpkins for the next year. But know that pumpkin vines can grow between 10 and 20 feet, so make sure you have enough space for these plants to grow!
5. Eat them.
So remember, before you go and toss your leftover pumpkins into your trash to be hauled away to the landfill, see if you can use your scraps to help the environment instead. A little reducing, reusing and recycling can go a long way to help the earth.
Shopping for that perfect pumpkin? Consider buying local from a Michigan Farmer’s Market or local farm to support small businesses near you. Plus, it doubles as a fun way to meet your daily steps goal. Walking through the rows of brilliant pumpkins gives you the opportunity to select from a huge variety rather than just a limited bin at a store. Enjoy finding the perfect pumpkin to carve and make the most of this fall.