Bees roles in pumpkin growth

NOW: Bees roles in pumpkin growth

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Jack-O-Lanterns, pumpkin pie, and all things pumpkin—fall is finally here!

For many, this time of year symbolizes the coming of fall and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving. But for local farmers, this time of year is a crucial part in their annual profit. So, I went out to see just what we can expect from the pumpkin harvest this year.

I went out to Ashley’s Pumpkin Farm off of Adams Road in South Bend and Amazing Acres in Niles, Michigan. Both farms told me that this year the harvest was damaged by the heavy rains this early spring. Ashley’s planted their seeds early June and Amazing Acres close to father’s day. While both farms planted early—they still ran into some problems along the way.

Roni Hoff, owner of Amazing Acres, said that the soft soil due to rain, caused tractors to get stuck and made harvesting more difficult than usual. Jennifer Ashley, from Ashley’s, said that mix of lots of rain, to no rain with lots of heat, then none of either just didn’t allow the pumpkins to grow and mature as plentiful as they could have.

No matter the trials from this spring and early summer—THERE ARE PUMPKINS!!!

No one needs to worry, pumpkins are available across Michiana—but both farms recommend going and picking out your pumpkins so that you and your family can pick and choose the perfect ones.

But what helped save the yield this year? Two factors that helped greatly were the use of bees and crop rotation.

Ruth Ann Warner, of Beyond the Norm Beekeeper, has been bringing bees to Ashley’s Pumpkin Farm for the past 4 years. The implementation of bees benefits both the farm and Warner: the farm gets enough bees to pollinate their pumpkin flowers and then Warner receives special pumpkin flavored honey to sell.

Crop rotation is also implemented by both farms. Farmers chose to rotate crops because it allows nutrients to be reintroduced to the soil that were formerly taken by the crop. For instance, Amazing Acres may plant pumpkins in one plot this year, but next, they will plant another crop like alfalfa that will bring needed nutrients back to the soil while the pumpkins are planted in new, fresh unused soil. 

If you are interested in going to visit these farms or seeing what other attractions they have for you and your family--visit their websites:

@AshleyPumpkinFarm on Facebook or at their address: 23098 Adams Rd, South Bend, IN 46628

Ashley's is open: 

- Monday through Friday from 10 am to 7 pm

- and Saturday/Sunday from 8 am to 7 pm or at their address: 18430 US-12, Edwardsburg, MI 49112

Amazing Acres is open:

-Wednesday through Friday from 4-8 pm

-and Saturday/Sunday from 10 am- 8 pm

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