November 4, 2021 Cranberry Living

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Those leftover jack-o'-lanterns can be disposed of without having to be tossed in the trash.

Mary Reefer, a volunteer with the Butler County Master Gardeners, said animals such as squirrels and deer like to eat pumpkins, and their carved shells are safe for them to consume. However, they should not be eaten by humans once they have been carved and posted outside.

“Put it away from the road in a place where animal can eat them,” Reefer said. “Once you open a pumpkin up, it's subject for bacteria. If you take the stem off, that's considered a wound, and carving a pumpkin is considered a huge wound.”

Reefer also said pumpkins can be composted to be used as fertilizer, so long as the seeds are removed. They need to be cut into small pieces to be composted effectively, which Reefer said is a good reason for a “pumpkin smashing party.”

“Don't put any seeds in because the seeds may germinate in the compost pile,” she said. “They would have to be composted to be used to fertilize your plants.”

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