Pumpkins can be composted, donated to farms, fed to wildlife


By JOHN RABY - Associated Press



A display of pumpkins prepared for Halloween welcomes visitors at the Denver Zoo Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Denver. Forecasters predict that the warm weather will remain in place over the intermountain West through the week ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A display of pumpkins prepared for Halloween welcomes visitors at the Denver Zoo Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Denver. Forecasters predict that the warm weather will remain in place over the intermountain West through the week ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Pumpkins for sale are displayed on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at a grocery store in Cross Lanes, W.Va. (AP Photo/John Raby)


Oliver Bohannon, after picking, and eating a few apples in the orchard, struggles to lift a pumpkin he picked out at Wallingford's Fruit House, Thursday morning, Oct. 13, 2022, in Auburn, Maine. It was his first time picking apples and pumpkins as he joined his sister, parents and extended family. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal via AP)


Hold off before throwing that porch pumpkin into the trash along with Halloween candy wrappers. Those jack-o’-lanterns don’t have to end up in the local landfill.

Consider composting pumpkins in the garden, donating them to community gardens, farms or even a zoo, or simply leaving them as a snack for backyard wildlife.

Gardeners can add pumpkins to the compost pile after removing any remaining seeds and being sure to cut off decorative material such as glitter, paint, stickers and candle wax. Slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces, scatter and bury them into the pile. And don’t worry if the pumpkin has already started getting moldy — those microorganisms aid the composting process.

Pumpkins, other vegetable scraps and grass clippings in compost piles are high in nitrogen. Provide equal or higher amounts of carbon-based materials such as leaves, sawdust, wood chips or cardboard. Occasionally add water to the compost pile. Turning it over with a rake or pitchfork ensures that oxygen is mixed in.

Some community gardens accept pumpkins and other food scraps to add to their compost piles.

Or consider that pumpkin as a meal for a host of animals at a local farm, zoo or sanctuary. The group Pumpkins for Pigs has an interactive U.S. map of places that accept donations of uncarved, undecorated pumpkins.

Homeowners also may consider feeding the wildlif e that hang out in their neighborhoods, especially when those old pumpkins are offered with other fruit. Salvaged pumpkin seeds are a tasty treat for a wide variety of birds such as cardinals, sparrows, finches and chickadees, including when mixed with other seeds such as sunflowers.

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A display of pumpkins prepared for Halloween welcomes visitors at the Denver Zoo Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Denver. Forecasters predict that the warm weather will remain in place over the intermountain West through the week ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130049269-4aa2898359654aecaba4f3a4d6bb470e.jpgA display of pumpkins prepared for Halloween welcomes visitors at the Denver Zoo Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Denver. Forecasters predict that the warm weather will remain in place over the intermountain West through the week ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Pumpkins for sale are displayed on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at a grocery store in Cross Lanes, W.Va. (AP Photo/John Raby)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130049269-ecaf9671643d4d4898bfe89d0c603f6e.jpgPumpkins for sale are displayed on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at a grocery store in Cross Lanes, W.Va. (AP Photo/John Raby)

Oliver Bohannon, after picking, and eating a few apples in the orchard, struggles to lift a pumpkin he picked out at Wallingford’s Fruit House, Thursday morning, Oct. 13, 2022, in Auburn, Maine. It was his first time picking apples and pumpkins as he joined his sister, parents and extended family. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal via AP)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130049269-5b9fccd692324f819bab974915f4ef78.jpgOliver Bohannon, after picking, and eating a few apples in the orchard, struggles to lift a pumpkin he picked out at Wallingford’s Fruit House, Thursday morning, Oct. 13, 2022, in Auburn, Maine. It was his first time picking apples and pumpkins as he joined his sister, parents and extended family. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal via AP)

By JOHN RABY

Associated Press