Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Recycle by Keith Rabin

Photo courtesy treehugger.com

This year, consider doing something beneficial, fun and productive with your pumpkins instead of relegating them to the landfill. There are many options that provide benefit to the soil, birds and wildlife.

  • First, consider treating yourself to toasted pumpkin seeds using the following recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and remove all seeds and strings. Use a large metal spoon to scrape the inner walls of the pumpkin. Separate the seeds, place them in a bowl and wash them with warm water to remove pulp (remember to set aside a handful of seeds to dry and plant next year). Grease an aluminum baking sheet (don’t use a non-stick baking sheet). Place the seeds on the oiled sheet and bake them for 30-45 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes to prevent burning. Once they are dry and toasty, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Done!
  • For a fun community project, lay out a tarp and gather the neighborhood kids with their pumpkins. Remove the seeds, then have a stomping party, letting the kids safely crush stomp and smash the pumpkins. 
Photo courtesy Huffington Post
  • Now that you have a bunch of crushed pumpkins, they can be put in the compost pile.  The more they are broken down the faster they will compost. For more information about composting yard waste, including pumpkins and fallen leaves, check out the CSU Extension Fact Sheet 7.212, Composting Yard Waste.
  • If you are especially motivated, you could begin a community composting project for your community garden.
  • Try hollowing out your pumpkin and filling it with birdseed as an inexpensive bird feeder.

So however you spend your pumpkin season, be safe, use resources wisely and have a happy holiday!