What to do with pumpkins

Pumpkin pulp
Don't throw your pumpkins away after Halloween - use the flesh and pulp to help wildlife (Photo: iStock.com/rez-art)

Did you know that a whopping 18 million kilograms of pumpkin gets thrown away at Halloween? That’s about the weight of 1,500 double decker buses! So, instead of binning your jack-o’-lantern, why not use it to help wildlife instead?

What to do with pumpkin seeds

Birds love all kinds of seeds, pumpkin included, so you could save the seeds and put them in your feeder. Dry them out first by putting them in the oven at 180C/gas 4 for about ten minutes (get a grown up to help you with this). Once they’re cool, you could break them up a bit so it’s easier for little birds to get their beaks round them.

Make a pumpkin birdfeeder

Pumpkin bird feeder
Make a pumpkin birdfeeder (Photo: Lianne Dunmore)

Pumpkins make great bird feeders, just like this one. Have a go at making your own:

1. Cut off the top half of your pumpkin and make sure you scoop out all the soft flesh so it doesn’t go off too quickly. (An ice cream scoop is good for this, or you can just use a spoon.)

2. Make four holes around the sides – not too near the top edge – and push two strong sticks through. Make sure they’re long enough to stick out of the opposite hole!

3. Tie four lengths of ribbon to the end of each stick, tie the loose ends together and hook it over a branch.

4. Fill your feeder with bird seed and hang it in a tree or from a fence. If you don’t have anywhere to hang it, just sit it on a table or on the ground.

5. Remember to clean out the leftover seeds every couple of days. And make sure you put your feeder in the recycling once it starts to rot as this could make the birds sick.

An alternative is to cut a big window in the side of the pumpkin and put the seeds inside. You can then wrap string around the pumpkin’s stalk and use this to hang it.

Give minibeasts a pumpkin feast

Pumpkin flesh is full of water and breaks down quickly in the soil so you could just chop your pumpkin into bits and bury it in your garden. The worms and insects will love it!

Just dig a hole about 25cm deep and pop it in. Remove the seeds first or you may be in for some surprise pumpkins in the spring! The minibeasts will chomp on it and then poo it out, making the soil more fertile for growing things next year.

Did you take a picture of your pumpkin carving masterpiece? Share it using #NatureDetectives and tell us what you’ve done with it now Halloween is over.

What did you do with your pumpkin?

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