How to use leftover pumpkins – FOUR surprising ways to use pumpkins in the garden

Incredible health benefits of eating pumpkins

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With an estimated eight million pumpkins dumped in the bin on November 1, there’s an awful lot of waste which could be used in your garden. Repurposing crafty Halloween pumpkin carvings in your garden is surprisingly beneficial to both your plants and the wildlife that visit your beds and borders – but what can you do with them?

What to do with leftover pumpkins after carving

Of the 15 million pumpkins grown every year in the UK, just over half of them are used for Halloween carving.

While the messy job of gutting out a pumpkin can be a nuisance, saving the gloopy flesh can work wonders in your garden.

If you’re already bored of pumpkin soup, puree or toasted seeds, you can reuse discarded pumpkins to make anything from an organic bird feeder to your own pumpkin planter.

Pumpkin bird feeder

The hollowed out, shallow shape of a pumpkin makes it perfect for a natural bird feeder.

All you need to do is cut the top off of your unused pumpkin and cut two holes – one on either side of the pumpkin.

Using some extra sturdy string, feed it through the holes and hang it in your garden.

Fill with birdseed and watch your feathered visitors tuck in.

Regrow your next pumpkins

Saving the seeds of your patch-bought pumpkin will set you well on your way to growing your own next October.

Plant experts at Primrose recommend rinsing any seeds you’ve reduced from the pulp of your pumpkins before planting them out.

They told Express.co.uk: “Once you have your seeds, pick out the biggest ones as these will have a better chance of germinating.

“Store them in a cool, dry spot for one week then keep them in the fridge and come April, you can plant your pumpkin seeds ready for October.”

Harvest your very own Jack O’Lanterns for Halloween 2022 and repeat the process for a yearly supply.

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Add pumpkin chunks to bird feed

As well as making the perfect bird feeder, pumpkin can be added to your birdseed mix for a festive treat.

Birds, foxes and squirrels are partial to a nibble of pumpkin – especially during the autumn when many animals struggle to find food.

Simply chop up the insides of your carved pumpkin or leftovers and scatter in your bird feeder for the animals to enjoy.

If you’re not a fan of encouraging animals to come to your garden, you can also donate your pumpkins to farms as animal feed – just make sure you’re removing any traces of candle wax before handing over your Jack O’lantern.

DIY pumpkin planter

This works best for uncarved pumpkins, or pumpkins with very fine carvings and fewer gaping holes.

  • Hollow out your pumpkin and fill it up halfway with putting soil.
  • Dig in some pre-established florals and green plants into the soil to finish off the look.

To get longevity out of your autumnal pumpkin planter, make sure you choose plants that prefer the shade as pumpkins will rot quicker in the sun.

Pumpkins will begin to smell off if left in warm spots to keep in a cool, shaded area.

Compost

Thought to be a worm’s favourite food, pumpkins make for a nutrient-rich composting material.

Simply smash up your pumpkin and place it in your garden before covering it with a few leaves.

Bonus recipe

This Gousto recipe for pumpkin skin crisps makes sure nothing goes to waste when making this autumnal snack.

Ingredients

  • Whole roasted pumpkin
  • Vegetable oil
  • One tbsp paprika
  • One tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 130 degrees celsius before halving the roasted pumpkin.
  2. Scrape the flesh off the skin, leaving two large, thin sheets of pumpkin skin.
  3. Chop these into large crisp-sized pieces, then add them to a bowl with a glug of vegetable oil, paprika, garlic powder and sea salt and give everything a good mix.
  4. Spread the seasoned pumpkin skin pieces in a single layer on a large baking tray and leave in the oven overnight to dehydrate and roast.
  5. Serve when crispy, with hummus or any other scrummy dip of your choosing.

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