Even though we are still in the midst of pumpkin-eating season, the decorative gourds and carved pumpkins left over from Halloween have all seen better days by now. But there is no reason for your centerpieces and Jack O’Lanterns to end up in a landfill. Pumpkins are a great addition to compost piles. They break down quickly and are a good source of nitrogen. If you regularly compost your food scraps, you can simply place the pumpkin in your pile. Just be sure to remove any half-burned candles, glitter, or glow sticks before you compost.
If you don’t have a compost pile, you can still use your pumpkin to nourish your garden. Just take it out back, smash it into smaller pieces with a hammer, cover with leaves, and let Mother Nature do the rest. Don’t have a garden or compost pile of your own? See if a nearby farm, garden or community center collects pumpkins for composting. Or you can join in a Pumpkin Smashing party. Over the past few years, an increasing number of green organizations and community groups have been hosting Pumpkin Smashing events in the weeks after Halloween. These events are a great way to introduce people, especially kids, to the concepts and practices of composting while providing nutrient rich dense materials to be used by by greening groups, such as urban farmers, community gardeners, and street tree stewards, to rebuild the city’s soil.
We hosted our own Pumpkin Smashing event last week at PRINT. with a group of students from City Growers at our rooftop garden. City Growers is a great NYC organization that connects urban communities with agriculture, food and environment through farm education and advocacy. City Growers offers field trips and multi-workshop programs for students in grades pre-K through 12, usually at Brooklyn Grange’s two rooftop farms in Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yards. We were psyched to show them around our rooftop garden. It was a little windy, but we were able to smell some herbs, smash some pumpkins, and have cider and caramel popcorn!