Post Halloween Composting

Small Molding Pumpkins

Compost Halloween Decorations

After Halloween, homeowners are sometimes left with a huge cleanup. Putting all those decorations away can be a hassle, if they even survived that year's crazy weather. However, if you've purchased bails of straw or hay and pumpkins, you can compost them in the garden to give your soil a boost for next year.

Composting Pumpkins

If you're going to compost your pumpkins, you just have to be mindful of weather you carved it or not. If you carved out your pumpkin to place a candle inside or simple just make a scary face, make sure of two important things.
  • Ensure all seeds are removed from the pumpkin prior to composting or you may have a pumpkin patch the following year.
  • If you've place a candle inside, remove all the wax and non-organic material from inside the pumpkin.
Once, you've made sure to have removed the afore mentioned pumpkin insides, then start looking for an area to compost your pumpkin. If you have an existing compost pile, you can place it in there or you can bury them in your normal grow areas covered by some dry leaves. I would highly suggest crushing or slicing it up prior to placing the pumpkin pieces in either spot. The smaller you break it down the quicker it will be composted. Depending on your area, whether it's after a month or after the winter is over, traces of the pumpkin should be gone leaving you with things like worm castings that will bolster your garden for the following season.

Composting Straw and Hay Bails

Let's first talk about Hay vs Straw. Hay is a crop usually grown for animal feed, whereas Straw is a byproduct of a grain crop. There are two important things you should be aware of before composting these items.
  • Hay is usually used more for animal feed because it can contain seeds of weeds than can spread to your garden.
  • Both hay and straw can contain inorganic materials, such as chemicals in pesticides and herbicides which you may not want to introduce into your garden.
If you're a fearless gardener not phased by either of those warnings, then I will continue. When using the hay or straw, you need to turn the compost pile regularly to ensure there's enough oxygen to break it down. Additionally, you can use them both as mulch to cover the soil before the cold winter frost shows up. Either way, don't let good organic material go to waste when it can be reused to help your garden grow higher quality food for you and your family.