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KSU expert outlines what to do with fallen leaves and pumpkin seeds this season

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Fall is in full swing, and for many, the season is characterized by colorful leaf lawn litter and pumpkins sitting on the front porch. 

In an Oct. 17 article published by the Kansas State University (KSU) Research and Extension Service, KSU Horticulture Expert Ward Upham outlines what to do with fallen leaves and pumpkin seeds. 

Cleaning up leaves

“Although a scattering of leaves won’t harm the lawn, excessive cover prevents sunlight from reaching turfgrass plants,” Upham explains. “Turf left in this state for an extended period of time will be unable to make the carbohydrates needed to carry it through the winter.” 

Therefore, Upham encourages individuals to remove leaves from their lawns before snow starts to accumulate. He also notes leaf litter can be recycled as compost and mulch for those with a garden or flower beds. 

Upham notes incorporating leaves directly into garden or flower food is a simple method of making use of fallen leaves and can be done in three easy steps.

First, individuals should use a lawn mower to chop and collect leaves into a bagging attachment, then they should transport and apply leaves to their garden or flower beds in a two- to three-inch layer. 

After the leaves are spread, individuals should till them into the soil and repeat the process every two weeks until the weather gets too cold or the soil gets too wet. 

Upham says, “Another easy and effective option is mulching by mowing the leaves with a mulching mower and letting the shredded leaves filter into the turf canopy.” 

He notes this method is most effective if leaf litter isn’t too thick. 

Roasting seeds 

On top of being an icon of the fall season and a cute addition to house decor, pumpkins can be used to make a delicious seasonal snack – roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Upham notes it is important to take care of pumpkin seeds prior to freezing. 

Although there are a variety of different ways to roast the seeds, he also shares a quick and simple way to turn pumpkin seeds into a healthy snack. 

First, the pumpkin needs to be cut open and the seeds and stringy material need to be removed from the inside. 

To wash and separate the seeds from fibrous strands, Inspired Taste suggests putting them in a bowl of cold water and scooping out the seeds as they float to the top. 

The magazine recipe also recommends adding the seeds to a pot of boiling salt water and letting it simmer for around five minutes. This further cleans the seeds and seasons them, similar to how adding salt to boiling pasta seasons it. 

The seeds should then be dried, tossed with oil – olive oil, coconut oil or any other nut oil – and sprinkled with seasoning of choice. 

“After seasoning, spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and roast for about 25 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit,” suggests Upham. “Roast time can vary depending on seed size and moisture content. Seeds are done when they turn golden brown.”

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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