Pumpkins can be composted, donated to farms, fed to wildlife

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. hold off / hoʊld ɔf / (idiom) – to not do or start something immediately

    The CEO and the directors held off the decision-making.

  2. landfill / ˈlændˌfɪl / (n.) – a place where a large amount of garbage is buried

    People living near the landfill get sick more frequently.

  3. composting / ˈkɑmˌpoʊs tɪŋ / (n.) – the act or process of turning food waste or dead plants into fertilizer

    Composting is a good way to minimize trash.

  4. decorative / ˈdɛk ər ə tɪv / (adj.) – used to make something more attractive

    I put some decorative plants on my desk.

  5. moldy / ˈmoʊl di / (adj.) – covered or filled with plant-like material, especially on food that is going bad

    Don’t eat your leftover food if it starts to become moldy.


Read the text below.

Hold off before throwing that porch pumpkin into the trash along with Halloween candy wrappers. Those jack-o’-lanterns don’t have to end up in the local landfill.

Consider composting pumpkins in the garden, donating them to community gardens, farms or even a zoo, or simply leaving them as a snack for backyard wildlife.

Gardeners can add pumpkins to the compost pile after removing any remaining seeds and being sure to cut off decorative material such as glitter, paint, stickers and candle wax. Slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces, scatter and bury them into the pile. And don’t worry if the pumpkin has already started getting moldy — those microorganisms aid the composting process.

Pumpkins, other vegetable scraps and grass clippings in compost piles are high in nitrogen. Provide equal or higher amounts of carbon-based materials such as leaves, sawdust, wood chips or cardboard. Occasionally add water to the compost pile. Turning it over with a rake or pitchfork ensures that oxygen is mixed in.

Some community gardens accept pumpkins and other food scraps to add to their compost piles.

Or consider that pumpkin as a meal for a host of animals at a local farm, zoo or sanctuary. The group Pumpkins for Pigs has an interactive U.S. map of places that accept donations of uncarved, undecorated pumpkins.

Homeowners also may consider feeding the wildlife that hangs out in their neighborhoods, especially when those old pumpkins are offered with other fruit. Salvaged pumpkin seeds are a tasty treat for a wide variety of birds such as cardinals, sparrows, finches and chickadees, including when mixed with other seeds such as sunflowers.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • In your opinion, are there any unnecessary things that people do during holidays (ex. fireworks, gift-giving)? Discuss.
  • Some decorations must be thrown away after use and they can end up in garbage dumps. Should people stop decorating their places or stores during holidays or occasions? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The article suggests that homeowners donate or compost their Halloween pumpkins. Personally, what would you do with this kind of vegetable decoration after use (ex. throw it away, feed to animals)? Discuss.
  • In the U.S., the group Pumpkins for Pigs has an interactive map showing places that accept pumpkin donations. Are there places in your region or country that accept food donations for animals? Do you think your country can benefit from such an organization? Why or why not? Discuss.