Archive for Monday, October 12, 2009

Area pumpkin growers worried about small crop

Growers wonder whether reduced harvest will last through Halloween

Kim Brooks walks with her grandson Kenny Brooks Monday at Schaake's Pumpkin Patch in this file photo. Pumpkin growers are looking forward to an average crop after last year yielded fewer pumpkins.

Kim Brooks walks with her grandson Kenny Brooks Monday at Schaake's Pumpkin Patch in this file photo. Pumpkin growers are looking forward to an average crop after last year yielded fewer pumpkins.

October 12, 2009

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Area pumpkin growers worried about small crop

With fewer than three weeks until Halloween, area pumpkin farmers are nervous. The wet and cool summer months have prompted growers to wonder whether they have enough pumpkins to last until the end of the month. Enlarge video

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With fewer than three weeks until Halloween, area pumpkin farmers are nervous.

The wet and cool summer months have prompted growers to wonder whether they have enough pumpkins to last until the end of the month.

Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch east of Lawrence was hopping on Monday with groups of school children and visitors. They have plenty of pumpkins to choose from — for now.

But the crop is about a third its normal size.

“The vines were so heavy, and they never really dried out,” said Janet Schaake, whose family has opened up its pumpkin patch to the public for 34 years.

She said this year was the third time her family wondered whether it would have enough pumpkins to make it until Halloween. From the Midwest to New England, pumpkin farmers have reported a tough year. Lawrence has had about 6.5 inches more rainfall than normal, which has been good for the corn and soybean harvests, but not for the pumpkins and melons.

“They are kind of a dry-weather crop anyway, and we just had too much moisture this year,” Schaake said.

In Douglas County, farmers are hopeful the weather might be more favorable in the next three weeks for pumpkins to ripen and boost the supply.

At Mike Garrett Farms north of Lawrence, the crop has turned out OK. Mike Garrett said that he hasn’t had many problems with rotting pumpkins and that he ended up with around 84,000 pounds or 5,300 pumpkins. In a good year, Garrett said he picked 175,000 pounds.

He sells them on his roadside stand on U.S. Highway 24-40, and he said somehow his pumpkins survived despite the wet ground.

“I just think it’s pure luck,” Garrett said.

Comments

igby 5 years, 6 months ago

Vines are big, small fruit though!

Too much cool weather. The grass did well this year and so did the weeds.

Did not bother even trying tomatoes. I do La Roma. You need steady hot weather to keep them blooming. A few cool nights and it kills the blooming cycle. Sometimes it takes a month to get them blooming those little yellow flowers again. Had a slow crop last year and did not even try this year. Mulched, though, and ready for next year's hot weather. May be?

RKLOG 5 years, 5 months ago

Local pumpkins are at the Merc right now. But we grew our own in our back yard. Easy as pie.

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