Is it okay to throw a pumpkin in the compost pile? This guide of composting pumpkins explains when it’s OK to compost pumpkins (and when it isn’t!) as well as how to compost them effectively.
Do you try to live a greener lifestyle? We feel the same way! There’s a lot to consider when it comes to sustainability. Everything from the meals you consume to the cleaning products you use to whether or not you compost a leftover pumpkin is up to you. There are a few procedures to follow before tossing pumpkins into the compost pile to ensure they’re safe and nutritious for composting.
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Table of Contents
How to compost pumpkin is as follows:
- Make sure the pumpkin is free of debris. Before composting, seeds and other non-compostable elements should be removed from pumpkins.
- Pumpkin should be cut into pieces. To make it simpler to digest, pumpkins should be sliced into little pieces.
- Allow the pumpkin to degrade in the compost heap. The pumpkin chunks will take around 8-12 weeks to totally decompose.
Before composting pumpkins, learn how to prepare them for the compost bin, how they breakdown, and when they should be avoided.
What is the best way to prepare pumpkins for composting?
Pumpkins have a high nitrogen content, making them ideal for composting. They decompose fast and give the soil with a lot of nutrients. There are a few basic procedures to take before tossing a whole pumpkin into your compost pile.
- Remove all of the pumpkin’s decorations. If you utilized the pumpkin to make a Jack-O-Lantern or another type of decoration, this rule applies. With a metal spoon, scrape out any remaining candle wax. Paint, glitter, and preservation sealant-containing parts of the pumpkin should not be composted unless you know they are biodegradable.
- Remove all of the seeds. Seeds are natural, however they should not be composted since they can take root and grow. Instead of putting seeds in the compost, preserve them for roasting!
- Take the insides out. You may extract the pumpkin’s flesh for cooking if it hasn’t started to rot. Simply combine all ingredients in an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- Pumpkin should be cut into tiny pieces. Cut the pumpkin into bits approximately the size of your hand using a knife. The smaller the bits, the quicker the pumpkin will decompose in the compost heap.
- Allow the pumpkin chunks to sit in the sun for a few days (optional). You may keep your pumpkin outside if you want it to break down even more before composting it. When you put it in the compost pile, critters will nibble on it, which will speed up the decomposition process.
- Combine the pumpkin chunks with the rest of the ingredients in the pile. Make careful to mix the pumpkin in with the rest of the ingredients rather than leaving it in one location to keep the nutrients balanced in your compost. To maintain a healthy carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, incorporate enough of brown material in your compost, such as decaying leaves.
Decomposition of pumpkins
When pumpkins are removed from their vines, they are exposed to the air and begin to lose moisture, which leads to rot. It usually takes a few months for them to decay due to their thick skin. Other elements that lead to rotting include fungi, mold, bacteria, and harsh weather.
How can you know whether a pumpkin is compostable?
The way a pumpkin appears tells you if it’s starting to deteriorate. If it has lost its vibrant orange hue and is beginning to become a dark brown tint, the rotting process has begun. When pumpkins become mushy and squishy, they are past their prime and should be composted.
When it comes to pumpkins, how long do they take to decompose?
After they’ve completely grown, whole pumpkins that haven’t been sliced or carved take roughly 8 to 12 weeks to start rotting.
It takes around 5 to 10 days for a pumpkin to start rotting in a compost pile after it has been sliced up. It’s worth noting that thicker rinds take longer to compost, so you may need to split them up even more.
When there is a lot of moisture in the air or the temperature is really hot, the rotting process accelerates. Additionally, if you compost pumpkin that has already begun to rot, it will decompose much quicker.
Composting pumpkins that aren’t supposed to be composted
If you use pumpkins as decorations, be in mind that they may not be compostable. Certain components often used for decorating, such as the following, cannot be composted:
- Preserving sealant
These ornaments might contaminate your compost and prevent pumpkins from fully decomposing. It’s preferable to keep the painted pieces of the pumpkin out of compost unless you know the glitter or paint you used is biodegradable.
You should try to save any parts of the pumpkin that aren’t painted and compost or cook with them.
What else may rotting pumpkins be used for?
Other than composting rotting pumpkins, there are a variety of other things you can do with them to reduce waste. Here are a few suggestions:
- The seeds should be roasted. Pumpkin seeds should not be thrown away! Make a nice snack out of them instead. Simply remove the seeds from the pumpkin, wash and dry them, toss with little olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- The meat can be used in cooking. It’s true: the meat inside your pumpkins may be eaten (as long as it hasn’t gone bad!). It may be used to produce pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin slices for a tasty side dish. Smoothies, soups, spaghetti, and baked items may all benefit from the addition of pumpkin flesh. It’s important to remember that certain pumpkins are better for cooking than others. We recommend tasting our pumpkin puree or soup cooked from scratch.
- Make a donation to a local zoo. Many zoos and wildlife refuges will take old pumpkins as animal treats. Make sure the pumpkin isn’t too rotten before using it (this can be harmful for the animals). We recommend taking your pumpkins to the zoo within 5 days of cutting them up.
- Make some bird food. Cutting the pumpkin into pieces and scattering bird seed on it is a simple way to produce bird feed. Pumpkins that are 5-7 days old are great because the bird seed adheres better to the slices.
- Take to a farm. Firmer pumpkins may be accepted as fodder for cattle by some local farmers. Before donating to a farm, make sure the pumpkins are just beginning to soften so the animals can easily eat them.
- Pumpkin pieces should be buried in your garden. This is an excellent approach to enrich the soil and make it more suitable for producing any form of fruit or flowers.
- Place them in your yard waste bin or in your garden. You can get your pumpkins collected with the rest of your yard garbage as a last option. Keep in mind that this is not permitted in all cities. Contact your local recycling center if you’re not sure how to dispose of your pumpkins.
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