5 ways to naturally dispose of your pumpkin
The energy Department is concerned about the potential link between pumpkins/jack-o’-lanterns and the production of methane gas. It isn’t as though the pumpkin just sets there and creates methane gas on your door step, but rather it is the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins being thrown in the trash each year after Halloween. It doesn’t appear from the Department of Energy website http://energy.gov/articles/turn-your-halloween-pumpkins-power that there is a quantifiable amount of greenhouse gas produced by the decomposition of all these pumpkins. The Department of Energy has instead just lumped the pumpkins into the various landfills with all other garbage and is claiming the 254 million tons of municipal solid waste produced in the United States each year is the problem. I don’t have any idea why a person would throw a pumpkin in the trash once they were finished with it, but maybe they just haven’t thought about any other options. To that end, we, at The Abundant Farm, are here to help you make greater use of your pumpkin and save the world. Here are our Top 5 ways to use all of your pumpkin and keep it out of the landfill.
1. Eat it. There is really nothing tastier this time of year than pumpkin. Everywhere you look there is pumpkin flavored stuff. Why not make your own pumpkin puree to use in a variety of desserts. It couldn’t be easier. Just take a look at our post last year where we outlined the process. http://theabundantfarm.com/pumpkin-puree-recipe/
2. Eat the seeds or save them to plant next year. I would suggest taking the seeds you scraped out of the pumpkin, rinsing them (get all the orange fibrous stuff off of them) and placing them in a bowl of salt water (water should easily cover the seeds and use a teaspoon of salt for every 2 cups of water) overnight. In the morning you can drain the water off the seeds, place them on a drying sheet in your dehydrated and have a healthy snack by the end of the day that packs more protein per 100g than cheese. If eating the seeds isn’t your thing. You might rinse your seeds and then put them in the dehydrator overnight (instead of soaking them in salt water). Place the seeds in an envelope ore something breathable (not a Ziploc plastic bag) and you will be ready to plant pumpkins again next year.
3. Feed your pumpkin to your chickens. Chickens love gourds of all kinds. They are absolutely amazing cleaners. They will eat every bit of the inside flesh of the pumpkin until you have only the rind left. Not only will you save your pumpkin from the landfill, but that chicken will produce a much darker yoked egg from all that beta carotene in the pumpkin. If you don’t have chickens, find someone that does. They would love to have your pumpkins for their chickens.
4. Compost your pumpkin. If you haven’t started a small compost pile, this is the perfect time of year to begin the process. You have plenty of nitrogen from your pumpkins and lots of leaf matter from your trees losing their leaves. Find a spot or simply set a few concrete blocks up in a square to keep your leaves from blowing away.
5. Fertilize your landscaping. Take the opportunity to cut the pumpkin into small pieces and place them around plants you have in your landscaping. If you are currently using mulch or rock in your landscaping, you can simply put the pieces of pumpkin under the rock or much half way between the stem of the plant and the widest point of the plant’s canopy.
I hope these ideas help keep your pumpkin out of the landfill. If you are near Crawfish Creek we will gladly take your spent pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns. If you have other ideas you would like to share, please leave us a comment.