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Jack O’ Lantern

The Fall. That stunning time of year when the colors change, the sweet smell of kettle corn tickles the air and everyone is busy with excitement.

And yet we forget the stresses we put on the environment. One of the most seasonal characteristics is the pumpkin also known as the jack-o’-lantern.

This iconic decoration marks the beginning of the Halloween celebrations with the many fun craft fairs, trick or treating, and parties!

The creativity of many artists, young and old, displaying their work on their jack-o’-lanterns is a visual treat in comuunities across the country. But what happens when Halloween passes.  Will you just toss out that old pumpkin in the trash?

In 2011, pumpkins were harvested from 47,300 acres from the top six states and were valued at $113 million. Many of these pumpkins are used to make canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie mixes. However, a large quantity are used for decoration and thrown out at the end of the season which is a terrible waste.

Before you dispose of your old jack this year think about it. Jack makes fantastic compost and it is fun too. The day after Halloween enjoy some pumpkin smashing with your kids or friends. Once you have the pumpkins in pieces add them to your garden to decompose allowing the nutrients to naturally enlighten the soil. For mini pumpkins just allow them to decompose over Thanksgiving which will help with winter bulbs deep in the soil.

Did you know that the town of Morton, near Peoria in central Illinois, is the self-proclaimed Pumpkin Capital of the World. Morton is the location of a Libby’s® pumpkin processing plant owned by Nestlé Food Company, which cans more than 85 percent of the world’s pumpkin each year.

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