Smashing (& Composting) Pumpkins

Date: 20 Oct 2022 | posted in: Composting, waste - composting, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Smash and compost your pumpkins!

One day pumpkin composting will be as common as Christmas tree recycling.

If you backyard compost, add your pumpkin. Remove candles, wax and any decorations. Don’t compost pumpkins with paint or glitter. It helps if you smash or cut pumpkin into several pieces (as opposed to one whole pumpkin), but it’s not necessary.

If you don’t want volunteer pumpkin plants growing in your compost, then scoop out all seeds OR you need to make sure your compost pile reaches 150 degrees for three days. Most people are not hot composting in their backyards, but it’s easy to do if you pay attention to these four things:

  • Mix 3 buckets of “brown” materials (such as leaves) to every 1 bucket of “green” materials (such as food waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds). Despite being orange, pumpkins are high in nitrogen and considered a “green” when composting.
  • Adequate moisture. If you grab a pile of material mixed for composting and squeeze it with your hand (palm up), there should be moisture showing between your knuckles but not dripping down your arm.
  • Adequate mass or volume (at least 3 ft by 3 ft by 3 ft of material in your pile).
  • Adequate oxygen. Turn/mix the pile every week and make sure it has good porosity so air can flow through it.

For those with backyards but no real active composting, you can still divert your pumpkins from the landfill or incinerator by finding a spot, smashing the pumpkin, and covering with leaves.

For more information on home composting, check out our resource page here!

Photo Credit: Institute for Local Self-Reliance 

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Brenda Platt

Brenda Platt directs ILSR's Composting for Community project.