So, your porch is overrun with pumpkins and Halloween is now past. What does a Flea Market Gardener do? We normally like to reuse everything so maybe one of these ideas, from the from practical to the yummy, will appeal to you.
‘Plant’ it in the garden
Easiest! Watch as Mother Nature does what comes naturally. I sometimes just chuck it off the patio, down the slope until it comes to rest where it wants to. Last year the pumpkin seeds sprouted and grew into a lovely, healthy plant covered in long pale peachy-orange blossoms. …Until a deer came by to enjoy it. Must have been its lucky day!
Feed them to the chickens
Most fowl love squash of any kind and raw seeds and pumpkins are very healthy for them. Sounds like a chicken party to me!
Plant an arrangement
Pack the carved area of your pumpkin with soil or moss and plant with mums, grasses, even transplant drying annuals from your patio pots! It will be a festive decoration for a few days, and then you can plant the whole thing right in the garden. The pumpkin will naturally compost and provide fertilizer for your plant. It may be a little chilly for planting. But if you haven’t had your first frost, give this one a try! This arrangement won’t last too long, then you can…
Although this can also be done with a fresh pumpkin, Mary Mirabel, of Garden Whimsies by Mary, took a class on how to make a craft pumpkin planter. She said, “One of my favorite garden shops had a class this weekend on planting pumpkins. I had fun and got to create this pumpkin planter. This will be an annual addition to my fall decorations for sure.
Craft pumpkins are the ones you find at crafts stores like Michael’s or Joanne’s Crafts. They are hollow so all you have to do is cut off the top and make a couple drainage holes in the bottom for planting.”
Put it in the compost heap – it will make good fertilizer and don’t be surprised if a plant grows there, too.
Display as long as possible where you can see it from inside. I put mine by the bird feeder to show off the brilliant blue of the Jays. If you’re lucky you’ll get ‘frost on the pumpkin.’
Eat the seeds!
place them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Stir them around to coat them with oil. From here, you can go almost anywhere with your pumpkin seeds. Add a little salt for classic roasted pumpkin seeds, or add a tablespoon or two of oil and brown sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon or chili powder for a spicy or sweet treat.
Just bury it in the garden – it will decay quickly and enrich the soil…you can also bury the whole ‘container’, like Mary’s above, in the ground and the pumpkin will act as fertilizer!
Wash, dry and save the seeds to plant next year…they will grow! Once they dry (I use an open cardboard box that absorbs moisture), place them folded in a paper towel and set inside a sandwich bag, left open. I store all my labeled ‘seed bags’ in a folded down paper grocery bag like a small file.
Make a pie or pumpkin bars
If you haven’t carved your pumpkin or if it hasn’t been cut and left outside for more than 24 hours, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, cut each half once more and place your pumpkin cut-side down in a baking dish with about a cup of water, and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Once you’ve made your pumpkin purée, it’s ready for use in all your favorite pumpkin recipes and can be frozen as well.
Pumpkin bars are more like cake with cream cheese frosting. These are becoming our traditional Thanksgiving ‘pie’
Whatever you do, have fun! Next holiday,…Thanksgiving! ~~ Sue