So, you're looking at your decorative pumpkins and you can't help getting that uneasy feeling that they're starting to turn. It starts with a few brown spots, then the next thing you know they've gone full blown zombie: they're imploding from the inside and spewing gourd juice. You've got a Jack-o-Zombie.
But what do you do? You don't have a compost heap. But you don't want to contribute to the 1.3 Billion decorative pumpkins American's throw into the landfill each year, equating to 254 million tons of municipal waste and contributing to methane emissions and, surprisingly, global warming.
After scouring the internet, which is full of really terrible and impractical ideas of what to do with old pumpkins, it seems to me you've got 3 choices, non-composters.
Option 1: lay out a forest feast. Various animals will love to chow down on pumpkins, even the ones we deem inedible. There's a catch to this one, though. I strongly advise not doing this near your home, lest your are inundated with raccoons, possums, and other less desirable rodents. You can also post on a neighborhood or regional Facebook page to see if anyone with chickens or pigs will let you drop your pumpkins at the mailbox. I've seen multiple people doing this in SC, and found someone in a local Homesteading Group who was more than happy to take any pumpkins I wanted to drop off.
Option 2: Bury it. This is the simplest answer for those without a compost heap. Dig hole. Drop pumpkin in. Shovel dirt over. The pumpkin with return to whence it came within a matter of weeks, and no animals will be interested in digging it up. I did this with most of mine this year, it was incredibly easy.
And finally, OPTION 3!
Option 3: Compost Rangers! If you live in the Charleston area and aren't mentally prepared to do your own composting, this is a wonderful group to get to know. They give you the bucket, and once a week you drop it off at the Sunday Brunch Farmer's Market. This will help you reduce your landfill input, but also the Sunday Brunch Farmer's Market is so fun, if you've never checked it out. Not to mention, it will encourage you to eat more local products, and if you're just joining us at Compost and Cava, this is why eating your way through the farmer's market is better for all of us.
Don't live in Charleston?
You may still be in luck, and even have more luck than we do in the Lowcountry. The compost movement is spreading as more and more people realize the gravity of our current planetary situation, so hit up Compost Now to see a list of available curbside pick ups by city/state - primarily thanks to non-profits. For example, here are just a few options I've run across on the internet/Instagram.
- Atlanta, GA: Compost Wheels curbside pick up
- Austin, TX: Austin Resource Recovery curbside pick up
- Charlotte, NC: Crown Town Compost curbside pick up
- Dallas, TX: Recycle Revolution curbside pick up
- Greenville/Spartanburg, SC: Atlas Organics curbside pick up
- New Orleans, LA: NOLA Green Roots curbside pick up
- Orlando, FL: Compost Orlando (office and business pick up only)
- Raleigh Durham, NC: Compost Now curbside pick up
- Richmond, IN: Rose City Bicycle Powered Compost Pick Up
- Ridgefield, CT: Curbside Compost Collection/Drop Off
The Compost Now list is awesome, but definitely not comprehensive. Many cities have hardworking non-profits who will happily provide a bucket and pick up your compostables - often including meat and dairy waste - for a small fee. Do some Googling, and see what your options are! Put that jack-o-zombie to rest, in a way that won't end up haunting us all!