Can You Compost Pumpkins?

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Quick Answer: Can You Compost Pumpkins?

Yes, you may compost the flesh, skin, and stem of the pumpkins. They are nitrogen-rich green materials that may be chopped into smaller pieces before adding to the compost bin. Do not add large quantities of pumpkin at a time. Remove the glitter, candle wax, and other decorations if composting pumpkins used for Halloween decorations.

In this guide, I will walk through the pros and cons of composting pumpkins to get you started.

Keep reading!

Can You Compost Pumpkins?

Yes, pumpkins can be composted as they are plant-based. You may compost skin, meat, stem, and seeds of the compost. The flesh will decompose quickly but its rind takes a longer time to decompose. It is recommended to cut them into smaller pieces for faster decomposition.

Alternatively, you may offer pumpkin flesh to chickens or wild birds. You may also roast the pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack.

Else, you may boil the seeds and compost them later to avoid seeds sprouting in the compost pile.

If you are composting pumpkins from Halloween lantern decorations, take care not to add candle wax, glitter, paint, or other decorative elements to your compost.

Scrap off the areas that have the decorations. Avoid composting pumpkins treated with a preservative.

You may go through this useful video on composting pumpkins:

How To Compost Pumpkins With Ease?

Pumpkins are a good source of nitrogen and work as a green material for the compost pile. They add moisture to your compost. Do not compost pumpkins treated with a preservative to prolong their use as a lantern.

Here is how you can compost pumpkins at home:

  • Prepare the pumpkins– If your pumpkin is used for lantern decorations, remove the candle wax, glitter, or paint. Also, break them into smaller pieces. You may also smash them if you don’t want to chop them. The pumpkin vines can be ground up, shredded, or chipped to increase the surface area for the microbes to work on and fasten the decomposition.
  • Boil the pumpkin seeds if you are planning to use them in compost. Else, remove the seeds to prevent them from sprouting.
  • Mix in the compost pile– Spread the pumpkin pieces in the compost pile. Also, mix them with other green ingredients. Toss a layer of brown materials over them to absorb the moisture and deter the flies. Take care not to add large quantities of pumpkin at a time as it will make the contents too wet and compost pile to smell.
  • Collect the finished compost– Turn the compost pile occasionally to aerate the pile and aid in decomposition. It will take about 8-12 weeks for the pumpkin pieces to decompose completely.

Check out this video on how to compost pumpkins at home:

How Can You Reuse Or Recycle Pumpkin?

Do not throw away the pumpkin seeds. They can be saved to grow for next year. They can be dried and consumed as a tasty low-calorie snack. Use the flesh for making pumpkin soup and other baked goods. You may donate the excess pumpkins to a local zoo for the animals.

Wash the pumpkin seeds and combine them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them in the oven at 350oF for 15 mins.

They are now ready as a snack. They can be used to garnish soups, smoothies, and baked goods.

Also, you may use pumpkin seeds for DIY crafts. You may make fun beads for chunky jewelry or as tiles for kids. 

The pieces of pumpkin can be used to make bird feed by sticking the seeds on the flesh.

Can You Add Pumpkins To A Worm Bin?

Yes, you can add pumpkins to a worm bin. It is high in nutrients and easy for worms to digest. Remove the candle wax, glitter, or paint you had used to decorate the pumpkin.

Like regular composting, chop the pumpkin into small pieces to speed up the decomposition process. Cover with a layer of bedding, shredded paper, or cardboard.

Similarly, add small quantities of pumpkin at a time as overfeeding may kill the worms. 

Store the remaining pumpkins in the fridge for later use. You may also vermicompost rotting pumpkins from the garden.  

Check out this video for more information on composting pumpkins using worms:

 How To Compost Pumpkins Using Trench Composting?

Large quantities of pumpkins can be composted using trench composting. Locate a sunny spot in the garden, dig a shallow pumpkin grave, and make a bed of vegetable leaves, peelings, and other compostable materials. Place the pumpkin in the middle and smash it. Cover them with soil, wood chips, or sawdust.

Few gardeners suggest placing fallen autumn leaves on the bed.

But, it may inhibit the growth of pumpkins or other plants next year due to the presence of possible growth inhibitors.


How long does it take for pumpkins to decompose?

The whole pumpkins may take about eight to twelve weeks to decompose. The cut pumpkins may take as less as five to ten days to rot in the compost pile. The thicker rind may take more time to decompose. Also, rotten pumpkins may take less time to decompose. A hot compost pile with adequate moisture will speed the decomposition process.

Can you compost pumpkin seeds?

Yes, pumpkin seeds can be composted. They are quite hardy and may survive the decomposition process. One issue is that they may sprout in the compost pile. You may boil the seeds before tossing them into the compost pile to prevent them from popping. 

Bottom Line

I hope this guide has provided you with useful tips on composting pumpkins. Please do share your suggestions for composting them.