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Friends of Victoria Square
Ffrindiau Sgwâr Fictoria
Penarth, Wales / Cymru
Pumpkin After Party 2021
The information on this page is out-of date for the current year. Please see updated advice as listed on the page for this year's event.
Give us your Post-Halloween Pumpkins and we'll give them to the wildlife that can eat them.
1st - 7th November 2021
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 & Sunday 7th November 2021,
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 3pm Sun 7th, and place it at our SIGNPOSTED COLLECTION POINT.
This will be located somewhere near 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).
Mock Up of Sign - Not Actual One
Please don't leave pumpkins by a lamp-post
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 two ways:
(1) Pumpkins will be used to feed the local wildlife and
(2) As compost material to provide future nutrition for our Horticultural Projects (such as The Community Garden & other planted locations).
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 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! We will remove any scorched or rotting areas and these will go directly to composting. 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 be distributed across Penarth in other wildlife and nature hotspots. (Our ecologists will look to ensure this is properly and safely done, and monitored.)
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. Pumpkin remains will then be composted.
Of course we also cannot control animal 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 7th?
We will stop accepting them ourselves, so what you do with it after that is up to you. All we ask is that you please reuse & recycle responsibly.
Photo of Ecologists on Hibernacula
(c) 2021 Pamela Armstrong
Did you know...
…that before pumpkins were imported to the UK and Ireland, turnips were used instead for carving Jack-o-Lanterns.
…that pumpkins (and other members of the squash family) LOVE growing in old, rich compost? This means that if you do end up chucking some seeds into your compost heap, they might start to grow there (and for best results, left to grow from there).
Check out this handy guide to growing pumpkins yourself from the RHS
…the flowers & leaves are also edible.
…that Pumpkins have medicinal purposes in many cultures, including Native American, Asian and European.
…that Roasted Pumpkin Seeds can make a tasty ‘popcorn-like’ snack?
With thanks to Laura Rodwell & Ella Robertson for their work on this. All other photos & artwork on this page (c) 2021 Dan PT Brown for the FoVS Picture Library.
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