What to do with Your Halloween Pumpkin After...
Halloween is over, but you've got pumpkins all over the place - what's a Flea Market Gardener to do? We love finding new uses for old things! Here are ideas ranging from the delicious to the satisfyingly practical!
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Beautiful, healthy pumpkin plant, ready to eat.
‘Plant’ it in the garden
Easiest! Watch as Mother Nature does what comes naturally. I sometimes just chuck it off the patio, down the slope until it comes to rest where it wants to. Last year the pumpkin seeds sprouted and grew into a lovely, healthy plant covered in long pale peachy-orange blossoms. …Until a deer came by to enjoy it. Must have been its lucky day!
J J, the turkey, is wary of the pumpkin but will enjoy it soon! Photo by Curbstone Valley Farm
Feed Them to the Chickens
Most fowl love squash of any kind and raw seeds and pumpkins are very healthy for them. Sounds like a chicken party to me!
Plant an Arrangement
Pack the carved area of your pumpkin with soil or moss and plant with mums, grasses, even transplant drying annuals from your patio pots! It will be a festive decoration for a few days, and then you can plant the whole thing right in the garden.
The pumpkin will naturally compost and provide fertilizer for your plant. It may be a little chilly for planting. But if you haven’t had your first frost, give this one a try!
Just bury it in the garden. It will decay quickly and enrich the soil…you can also bury the whole ‘container’ in the ground and the pumpkin will act as fertilizer!
Container created by Garden Whimsies by Mary
Although this can also be done with a fresh pumpkin, Mary Mirabel, of Garden Whimsies by Mary, took a class on how to make a craft pumpkin planter. She said, “One of my favorite garden shops had a class this weekend on planting pumpkins. I had fun and got to create this pumpkin planter. This will be an annual addition to my fall decorations for sure.
Craft pumpkins are the ones you find at crafts stores like Michael’s or Joanne’s Crafts. They are hollow so all you have to do is cut off the top and make a couple drainage holes in the bottom for planting.”
Composted Pumpkin. Awwww! Photo by Drew Beal
Put it in the compost heap
…It will make good fertilizer and don’t be surprised if a plant grows there, too.
These pumpkins lasted several months adding color to the winter patio.
Display as long as possible
…Where you can see it from inside. I put mine by the bird feeder to show off the brilliant blue of the Jays. If you’re lucky you’ll get ‘frost on the pumpkin.’
Spicy or sweet roasted seeds
Eat the seeds!
Place them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Stir them around to coat them with oil. From here, you can go almost anywhere with your pumpkin seeds. Add a little salt for classic roasted pumpkin seeds, or add a tablespoon or two of oil and brown sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon or chili powder for a spicy or sweet treat.
My seed file
Wash, dry and save the seeds
…They will grow! Once they dry (I use an open cardboard box that absorbs moisture), place them folded in a paper towel and set inside a sandwich bag, left open. I store all my labeled ‘seed bags’ in a folded down paper grocery bag like a small file.
&&&Make a pie or pumpkin bars
---Pumpkin bars have become a family favorite
If you haven’t carved your pumpkin or if it hasn’t been cut and left outside for more than 24 hours, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, cut each half once more and place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Once you’ve made your pumpkin purée, it’s ready for use in all your favorite pumpkin recipes and can be frozen as well.
Pumpkin bars are more like cake with cream cheese frosting. These are becoming our traditional Thanksgiving ‘pie’
Bonnie Trill says, “I think I will spray paint white and make a snow man,” Kimberly Buehrer turns her pumpkins around and on the opposite side of the Halloween face she uses black magic marker to write “Be Thankful.” She says, “The pumpkin becomes a Thanksgiving decoration.”
Garden or goats
Stephanie Williams says, “ I threw my kids’ pumpkins in my compost pile. All the veggie scraps go in it, so I can nourish my garden next growing season.”
Melissa Lee Lynn Give it to the chickens. Pumpkin seeds have a natural dewormer. Ruth Witte “Give farmer for their pigs” Ruth E. Brown “I feed it to my dairy goats.”
Sue Sullivan says, “I buy sugar pumpkins and don’t carve jack o lanterns. I cook them up, roast the seeds and eat them. Stem, peel & guts go in the compost. Robyn McClellan bakes the seeds Julie Greer makes pies. Leslie Siedsma says, “I microwave it and make my pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.” Susan Thompson: Made side dish, muffins and the rest will go to soup today.
Food for wildlife
Cecilia Ayers: Cut open to make natural bird feeder Patty Keeling Bender: Let the squirrels have them, or wildlife that may like them! Jeaneane Fortune says, “ We put it out in the country. We have been told that deer like to eat the seeds and meat and it is a natural dewormer.”
Catherine Hinkle: Kids using it for target practice Wende Allen: My son uses it for a target. He shoots it up.
Kelli Biesbrock says, “We do pumpkin bowl! We live in the woods, on a bit of a hill, attached is a trail of sorts an area where the deer frequent, any how, we just dispose of them by bowling them from the top of the hill, and try to get them to the spot where the deer like to graze. Weird, I know, but fun. Our adult kids are coming out to enjoy the festivities, making a day of it, pumpkin bowl, food and football.”
May Yal says, “We toss ‘em into our wild meadow for the deer and with luck, some seed and make pumpkins in the spring to run among the wild flowers.”
Paige Harvey does this too. She says, “ I just tossed mine off the front porch when it started to rot. Some little creature must have picked up the seeds and buried them in a big empty flower pot. Later in the year, I had a pumpkin plant growing, flowers & all. Pretty cool!”
Whatever you do, have fun! Next holiday,…Thanksgiving! ~~ Sue