Pumpkins vs. weather
With it finally being October and closer to Halloween, it’s time to head out to the pumpkin patch to decorate and carve pumpkins! There will be plenty of pumpkins available this fall, but if you’re looking for large pumpkins, there may be a shortage.
Farmers at Ashley's Pumpkin Farm in South Bend have noticed this. “The weather this year has affected us, because it was so dry. The pumpkins are smaller than they were last year, because they just didn’t have the water to grow bigger,” says part owner, Jennifer Ashley. Pumpkins need plenty of water throughout their growing season, so this summer’s big lack of rainfall inhibited the growth of some pumpkins.
Another weather factor that plays a big role in the development of in-demand fall produce is unseasonal weather. Michiana experienced a long stretch of 80s and 90s in late September, which helped and hurt some of this year’s pumpkin crop.
“The pumpkins that set on early in the season, what we struggle with there is that they are just kind of cooking out in the field, and so some of our smaller pumpkins that were already completely ripe, we had some problems with those," says Ashley.
However, the heat didn't hurt them all. "Those that are later in the season to mature, that actually helped those, because it helped push them along and mature them nicely,” Ashley adds.
After putting your pumpkin on display at home, wet weather can start to deteriorate it. To increase the longevity of your pumpkin, elevate it off of wet soil, and put it on straw, mulch, wood chips or a palette. This improves air circulation, reduces contact with soggy soil, and prevents quick rotting.