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How to Compost Pumpkins

How to Compost Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a great part of fall tradition. With modern growing and commerce practices, many food items are seen throughout the year. But pumpkins have kept their seasonality and most are grown close to home. Pumpkins help keep us connected to the best of all of our fall memories.

But pumpkins have become a bit underutilized. They are often bought solely for decoration and carving. Pumpkins have much more to give.

If you have uncarved pumpkins, you may be able to roast the pumpkin seeds or discover all of the flavorful dishes you can make with pumpkins. If you go to and search on pumpkin, you’ll find about 1,400 recipes made with pumpkin – everything from pumpkin burgers to pie.

And, if you’ve carved a jack-o-lantern, cool days will allow you to enjoy your art a while longer. But, most of you may have noticed, that it doesn’t take long for Mother Nature to start reclaiming her work.

If you throw the pumpkin in your garbage can, it will likely make its way to a landfill or to the incinerator to be burned with the rest of the trash. This year, you can have a little more fun and nourish your soil by composting your pumpkin. If you already have a composting bin or area, you can add your pumpkin as you would other vegetable scraps.

But, if you’ve never composted before, a pumpkin is a simple way to start.

  • For uncarved pumpkins, remove the insides for cooking (you can also compost the insides; composting the seeds may result in pumpkin plants next year)
  • Remove any candles or wax.
  • Find a spot in your yard for your pumpkin’s final resting spot. This should be out of the way of daily activity. A sunny spot will speed the composting process.
  • Place your carved pumpkin in the spot and smash it a bit or allow kids to have fun smashing it a lot.
  • Cover it with a layer of leaves.
  • And, let nature do its work. Worms will turn your pumpkin into nourishing compost.
This is the easiest way to compost and surprisingly painless. You may not enjoy the smell of a pumpkin rotting in your garbage can, but there’s no bad smell as vegetables naturally degrade in an environment with fresh air and some sunshine.

For more information on composting, see our article on How to Make Compost.