How You Can Use Those Leftover Pumpkins In Your Garden This Fall

Gardeners who planted pumpkin seeds in the summer will be delighted when the large orange fruit starts to grow in your garden in the late summer and fall. Pumpkins are an excellent source of nutrition and are vital for the fall months, be it a pumpkin pie or carved pumpkin. It is a very rewarding crop to grow, and an average-sized pumpkin plant can yield anywhere from two to three full-grown pumpkins, per Our Garden Works.

Despite your best intentions, though, it is very likely you may not be able to use up each and every pumpkin. If you find yourself with excess or leftover pumpkins from your harvest, they don't have to go straight into the garbage — there are a few different things to do with them. Among the most popular would be to bake them up into delicious desserts or can them, but those may not be viable options. Instead, consider returning them back to the garden.

Turn them into fertilizer

Pumpkins are such a favorable crop due to how nutrient and mineral dense they are, with WebMD saying they contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Not only is this great for your health, but also for your garden. If you want to add some rich nutrients to your garden soil, look no further than leftover pumpkins.

There are a few things to keep in mind before using your pumpkins as fertilizer, though. One, as Terrarium Blog warns, is to know what crops you plan to plant next season. The soil will be incredibly dense with minerals, but not all plants can handle soil that rich, so just be mindful and think ahead. Also, you'll need to take time to sterilize your pumpkins. While letting them naturally decompose may sound like a good idea, there is a high probability they'll start to mold, which will carry into your soil and make it unusable. Sterilize your pumpkins by cutting them up and drying them in your oven at roughly 120 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four hours. This will remove any bacteria and prevent moisture build-up from turning into mold.

How to use pumpkins as fertilizer

Now that your pumpkins are dried and sterilized, it's time to get them in your soil. According to Terrarium Blog, a very simple way to do this is to just bury the dried pieces of pumpkin in your garden soil. Not only will the pumpkin break down and create incredibly rich soil, but worms in the ground will also have their share and, in turn, create wonderfully aerated dirt and even more nutrients. Be careful to remove any pumpkin seeds prior to this method, though, as they'll end up germinating and regrowing the next summer.

If you want to have a bit more control, you can also turn the dried pumpkins into a powder fertilizer. Dry the pumpkins out even more, and then throw them into a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle, turning them into a fine powder. You can even use pumpkin seeds for this method. Simply sprinkle the powder on top or mix it into the soil's surface.