REGINA -- If you left your pumpkin outside during October’s cold snap, chances are, the orange vegetable is now a mushy mess.

Wayne Gienow, the owner of Lumsden’s Lincoln Gardens, harvests thousands of pumpkins each year. He said pumpkins need to be stored at room temperature or covered, especially when temperatures drop.

“They’ll take like a -4 or something, where they don’t get frozen solid, [and] the frost will draw out. But if you freeze them solid, they’re done,” Gienow said. “They’ll start decomposing right away.”

Gienow still has pumpkins for sale, but his crop was nearly decimated well before the frost.

“The pumpkins pretty much got wiped out in an August 12 hail storm. It was nasty. Took about 99 per cent of them,” Gienow said.

He said they harvested about 4,000 pumpkins this year, compared to a usual haul of more than 100,000. If Lincoln Gardens has any left after Halloween, they’ll be heading to compost.

“Because they’re Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins, they’re not bred for making pies or eating,” Gienow said. “I mean, you can. I’m not saying you can’t. But they’re just not the best quality.”

Instead of putting your old pumpkins in the garbage bin, the city is asking residents to drop them off at the Yard Waste Depot until November 1 to be composted.

Any pumpkin can be dropped off - no matter how mushy it is - as long as it hasn’t been painted.

“They can either bring them in a reusable tub and just dump it out, or they can bring it in a paper bag and they can leave it in the paper bag when they bring it to the site,” said Janet Aird, manager of program development and delivery for the City of Regina.