Cinderella, The Pumpkin, And the Cycle of Life

Like Cinderella the night before the ball, these poor squash
may only have one glorious night to look forward to…unless you save them!

Once Halloween is over, pumpkins lose their appeal. Old Jack-O-Lanterns become flying objects, or die a slow and ugly death, until someone takes pity and tosses them into a compost pile.

Pumpkin degenerates after a long, hard week.

Wait a minute! Didn’t you just spend approximately $24 on that behemoth of squash, because it was Junior’s pick of the litter?! Though it’s hard to maintain appeal when competing with a bucketful of candy, pumpkins need not litter the earth in a vegetal walk of shame. There are several options for carved and uncharted pumpkins:

Jack-O-Lanterns make wonderful living pots.
  • Plant pansies in carved Jack-O-Lanterns. Simply scoop some soil into the pumpkin and add a pansy or two. Water as you would a potted plant. The pumpkin pot will last at least until frost, when the pansy wilts. While the ground is still soft enough to dig, bury the pumpkin. It will decompose and enrich the soil, resulting in a nice planting space in spring.
  • Open up any uncarved pumpkins and scoop out the seeds. Clean off the pulp, and spread the seeds on a baking tray. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Make sure the seeds are brown, but not burnt. Sprinkle the delicious, nutritious seeds on salads, or simply snack on them.
  • To keep things even simpler, remove the top of an uncarved pumpkin, leaving the seeds and goop intact. Fill it with soil, and leave it outdoors. The pumpkin flesh will decompose around the soil, and in spring, the seeds will sprout. Divide the seedlings and plant them in the garden, or give them to other gardeners as gifts.

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