Pumpkin After Party 2022
Give us your Post-Halloween Pumpkins and we'll reuse and recycle them.
1st - 4th November 2022
Halloween is approaching, and as we all know, pumpkin carving is a popular activity in many households. Unfortunately, it is estimated that each year, the UK wastes nearly 13 million pumpkins following Halloween.
Of course, this is a waste in terms of a food source for us, but possibly of more interest, to wildlife.
We thought: “What if we could change this? We could ask the local community to donate their pumpkins to FoVS and we could distribute them around The Square.”
Pumpkins are an excellent, natural food source for many wild animals, including squirrels, birds & even foxes.
We thought: "Well… we’ve tried it before" (in 2019).
This time though we’ve a couple of ecologist members re-launching the project, to make it even better...
Between Monday 1st & Friday 4th November 2022,
You have the opportunity to donate your leftover Halloween Pumpkins to us at Victoria Square.
To do this, please bring it along to The Square before sunset Mon-Fri & by 4pm and place it at our SIGNPOSTED COLLECTION POINT >.
This will be located beside our Community Garden.
Volunteers will then come along and ensure proper distribution and usage of them.
PLEASE DON’T just stick it anywhere in The Square... as there is an important reason for not doing so (see FAQs below).
Important - Before Donating
Before you donate your carved/decorated pumpkin, PLEASE ensure you do the following:
Remove any & all candles (wax & electronic), and any melted wax.
Remove also any non-edible items, such as nails, skewers, decorations, decorations.
Remove any pulp & seeds and transport separately.
Wash inside and out - using water only - and dry upside-down (this will help it to last longer as excess moisture will speed-up the rotting process - which means it'll not be as suitable for feeding to the animals).
Ensure there's no glue or other debris that will cause harm to animals still attached.
DO NOT donate your pumpkin if it has been decorated using ANY non-edible materials such as: glitter, glue, plastic craft items, PERMINANT MARKER PEN or anything that will be harmful to animals, or unable to safely go into our compost.
You could also PRE-PREPARE you pumpkin for us OR for yourself in your own garden.
See this page for instructions as to how to make a pumpkin Hanger!
A page on how to make a Pumpkin Hanger will be under that link.
Before Donating any SEEDS:
Please remove as much pulp as possible & wash them. Pulp can be donated for compost.
If you are looking to donate a whole pumpkin that can be re-gifted to the community, PLEASE ensure the following:
The Pumpkin is fit for human consumption.
It is clean of any non-natural, inedible debris.
It doesn't have any damage or points of rot.
When you come to donate your pumpkins (whatever type) & seeds, please place them in the correct indicated containers.
Carved Pumpkins suitable for feeding the wildlife (including ones you've prepped for us) & whole pumpkins go into the indicated boxes.
Mushy, rotting pumpkins & pulp go into the bin marked for Compost.
Clean Seeds go into the seed box - PLEASE DO NOT PUT PULP in with the seeds.
If you are uncertain of the suitability of your pumpkin for wildlife feeding, stick it in the compost box.
PLEASE DO NOT leave your pumpkin on the ground anywhere else around The Square, as this may go unnoticed by us - and could then become harmful to wildlife.
Got Questions about this?
Our Ecologists (Laura & Ella) >>> have
helped put together this handy FAQ for you.
What are you using the pumpkins for?
We will use your pumpkins in several ways:
(1) Pumpkins will be used to feed the local wildlife.
(2) As compost material to provide future nutrition for our Horticultural Projects (such as The Community Garden & other planted locations). Composting will be done various locations including Victoria Sq, The Kymin (with Friends of The Kymin* / Penarth Growing Community*) and elsewhere.
(3) if it is whole & unused, and suitable for human consumption, it will be re-gifted back to The Community.
(4) Anything left over may be donated to other local animals, such as pigs or chickens.
This means we are running a completely 0% waste scheme!
Why should we donate our pumpkins?
Many animals do not make it through the winter due to a lack of food availability. Therefore, providing our local wildlife with additional food sources throughout the colder months will help to prepare them for the winter, and ensure their survival through to Spring. This is a cost-effective and sustainable way for us all to help our local environment!
Do you accept any pumpkins?
Pumpkins and squashes of all sizes, carved and uncarved. We don’t mind if they’re a little sooty, or squashy, HOWEVER PLEASE DO NOT donate anything that has been decorated with non-edible materials, such as glue, glitter, permanent marker or paint. REMEMBER, if it’s not something you should be eating, it isn’t something animals should be either. These may also not be compost suitable. Best thing to do is probably stick in your food waste caddy, or black bin if heavily coated.
What about the seeds?
Many animals can eat the seeds (including yourself). We'll accept them too. We may even plant some next year to grow more pumpkins!
Lets just keep it simple for now. We'll look at other animal feeding projects another time.
What animals will eat the pumpkins?
A range of animals LOVE pumpkins! Especially garden birds, grey squirrels and even red foxes.
Are pumpkins harmful to any wild animals?
Unfortunately, pumpkins can upset hedgehog tummies if over-consumed (they much prefer worms, bugs and insects). In light of this, we will ensure your pumpkins are placed in elevated positions e.g. on branches and in bird feeders… away from any hungry hogs!
What if my dog/cat eats some pumpkin?
Not to worry! Dogs & Cats can safely eat pumpkin seeds as well as cooked or raw pumpkin. Please seek advice though as to how much they can safely consume.
What if my pumpkin is already starting to go mouldy or is scorched from being used as a Halloween Jack-o-lantern?
Good question! A bit of scorching is ok, as this can be removed. As can mushy/mouldy parts. Anything too far gone can go directly to composting OR into your VoG FOOD WASTE CADDY. Anything else is suitable food for wildlife.
What will you do if you receive more pumpkins than expected?
If we do receive an abundance, additional pumpkins will either be composted, distributed across Penarth in other wildlife and nature hotspots. (Our ecologists will look to ensure this is properly and safely done, and monitored.) Uncarved pumpkins suitable for human consumption will be used in other ways around The Community.
What if The Square looks messy with rotting pumpkins everywhere?
As locals, we at Friends of Victoria Square will always look to maintain The Square as a clean and enjoyable space for everyone. We will therefore be collecting all the uneaten pumpkins back up after a few days before they start to decompose and are deemed unsuitable as a food source. We will do our best to clean up any mess left behind. Pumpkin remains will then be composted.
Of course we also cannot control animal (/discourteous human's) behaviour, so they may end up making some mess themselves when we're not looking. (We'll do our best to monitor this.)
Can I place my pumpkin anywhere in The Square myself?
Well... while we can't stop you, you may find that our volunteers move/remove it because its in a location it shouldn't be, or needs processing for better use.
Though if you follow our lead and examples, you're more likely to find it left where it is (which will be a sign of a good job done too.)
PLEASE DO NOT place any on our project areas, such as The Hibernacula, Log Piles, Stumperies, Bog Garden or Community Garden beds. Please also do not place them beside The Church or grassed area their side of the paths, as that is church property.
Can I not donate my pumpkin, but put it out for the wildlife in my own back garden?
Absolutely. Just follow the way we’re doing it to ensure only the right creatures get it. That way you can enjoy watching it being devoured by the animal visitors to your garden (and you never know, you might attract a few squirrels!)
As not everyone has a back garden, this is a way for them to reuse & recycle theirs.
What about me putting it in other locations (such as other parks or green-spaces?)
Other local parks and green-spaces are not under our control, so we cannot speak for them. While we cannot stop you from doing this, we do advise caution. REMEMBER, they are all public spaces, and the public (and park-keepers) may not want to see them ‘littered’ with random bits of abandoned pumpkin. We at least will be keeping an ecological eye on the ones we place.
IF YOU DO PLAN ON DOING THIS ELSEWHERE – Please monitor your pumpkin, and if it has not been consumed after a few days, remove it before it rots in place (which can cause further issues) and dispose of properly, either in a compost heap, or food recycling caddy.
ADVISED ALSO not to leave seeds where they might grow.
While pumpkins are a harmless plant, the last thing those maintaining the green-spaces would want is to have to deal with are any rogue plants. They can also upset the balance of nature (soil nutrition) in those locations (which is not something we're looking to do).
We at FoVS bear no responsibility for anyone doing anything outside of our own remit for this activity.
Will anyone be there to collect my pumpkin / give advice if I'm not sure of its suitability or help me to place it?
Our members are all volunteers, so can't always be available. You may get lucky and catch one out-and-about (especially likely Saturday morning). Best thing is to follow our advice above, then leave your pumpkin at our collection point and we'll deal with it.
You could also ask us on our Facebook Page.
What if I still have a used pumpkin after the last collection date/time?
We will stop accepting them ourselves, so what you do with it after that is up to you. We advise that you look to compost it yourself, or place it in your council food waste caddy.
All we ask is that you please reuse & recycle responsibly.
Photo of Ecologists on Hibernacula
(c) 2021 Pamela Armstrong
Did you know...
…that we estimate we received over 300 pumpkins last year.
with good storage they can last several months?