Reduce waste, rejuvenate the health of your garden and best of all, eat well! From us at Eco-yards, here are some tips to make the most of the shoulder season.
WAYS TO MAKE USE OF YOUR HALLOWEEN PUMPKINS
After Halloween, so many pumpkins go to waste and to landfills. Here are some ways to put those pumpkins to good use:
MAKE PUMPKIN SOUP!
Here are 2 of my favourite recipes. They both freeze well and are so delicious and warming on these cool Fall days:
First, cut your pumpkin up into 5 -10 cm. slices and bake it in a pan with a bit of water in it in the oven. Then make these soups and enjoy!
You can clean off and roast the seeds too for a nutritious snack on their own or to add to your pumpkin soup.
For the measurements note the following:
1 tsp = 5 ml
1 tbsp = 15 ml
1 cup = 250 ml
1 oz = 30 ml
THAI COCONUT PUMPKIN SOUP
Peel the baked pumpkin slices and puree them with a hand-held blender.
Note that if you find this recipe too rich, you can use only half the coconut milk.
- 14 oz. can (400ml) coconut milk
- 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- Heat a pan and add the thick coconut milk from the top of the can
- Add the red curry paste and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the pumpkin puree, the rest of the coconut milk and the fish sauce.
- Bring the soup to a boil and then remove from heat. Serve!
- You can serve this with roasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of sour cream, heavy cream or yoghurt.
SPICED PUMPKIN GINGER SOUP WITH LEEK
- 1 leek chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 chili, chopped
- 1 oz (2 tbsp) ginger root – peeled & finely chopped
- A few sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp butter
- 6½ cups vegetable broth
- 2¼ lbs (4 cups) pumpkin – peeled, seeded, chopped
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish
- Cook leek, onion, cumin, chili, ginger & thyme in butter until soft
- Add broth & pumpkin, bring to a boil and season to taste
- Simmer 20 minutes
- Blend until smooth
- Adjust consistency as necessary with more broth/water
- Add salt & pepper to taste
- Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds
I love these recipes so much that I will make them out of butternut squash once pumpkins are out of season.
MAKE A PUMPKIN BIRD FEEDER
Keep the overall shape and cut wide holes down the vertical of your pumpkin and hang it up with bird feed inside – a natural bird feeder. (I saw this tip on the Weather Channel and have not personally tried it)
COMPOST THE PUMPKIN!
If nothing else, you can break your pumpkins up and put them in your compost bin, or your green bin if you do not have a compost bin.
USING YOUR FALL LEAVES
Compost is the best thing you can add to your lawn, trees, shrubs, and flowers. It has the nutrients your plants need to grow well and stay healthy. It has organic matter and helps soil retain moisture. Perhaps most importantly, it has microorganisms – the bacteria, fungi, and other little beasts that make nutrients from the soil available for plants to use.
Fall is when nature recycles the nutrients and organic matter in leaves. They drop to the ground and over the winter they decompose to release nutrients, creating more organic matter in the soil to harbour micro-organisms.
Leaving those leaves on your flower, tree, and shrub beds is a great idea. They will not only decompose to feed your plants, they will protect the plants from the winter cold. You can put extra leaf cover on delicate perennials and remove those leaves in the Spring for composting.
If you have more extra leaves, you can put them in your compost bin. I also keep a garbage bin of leaves near my compost bin to add to the compost after I add kitchen waste.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LEAF COMPOST
If you have extra leaves, and do not have a compost bin, here is an easy way to help the leaves break down into a nutrient-rich garden supplement. Simply place the leaves into plastic bags and add enough water to wet them. Right now in Alberta, when the leaves are wet already, you do not need to add water – you could add snow!
Poke holes in the bottom of the bag for excess water to drain. By the time warmer weather rolls around the leaves should be well broken down and ready to add to your garden beds or your compost bin.
Leaf compost after 5 months in the bag – well on its way to being great compost!
Rinse the plastic bags well once you have removed your leaf compost and place them in your recycle bin.
Leaf mulch and compost are the most natural way to keep your yard healthy and recycle nutrients!
LEAVE PERENNIAL STALKS FOR THE WINTER
I leave my perennials with stalks on them through the winter. That helps hold in snow which insulates the perennials over the winter. It also provides food for birds (seeds, flower heads). I cut off the dead stalks in the Spring.
SPREAD FINISHED COMPOST ON YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN NOW
I spread compost on my veggie garden once I have cleaned it out and just leave it on top, or I mix it in a bit with a garden fork. This way the soil is completely ready for planting in the Spring.
SIGN UP FOR 2021 COMPOST TEA SPRAY SERVICE NOW FOR A GREAT DISCOUNT
Go to https://www.eco-yards.com/calgary-compost-tea-spray-service/ to sign up for having your yard sprayed with compost tea three times next season.
CONTACT LAUREEN NOW TO BOOK A DESIGN CONSULT FOR YOUR 2021 LANDSCAPING PROJECT
Call Laureen at 403-969-1176 to book a design consult before the snow really flies! Then we will be ready to install your landscaping project next season.