What is in this article?:
- Southeast pumpkin growers had mixed results in 2013
- Bad for pollination
• The 2013 pumpkin crop in the upper Southeast was mixed, depending on location and the amount of rainfall received.
THE PRODUCTION cost was high, but the actual production was good for most pumpkins grown in Virginia and North Carolina this year, like these at a stand in Dunn, N.C.
The rainy summer of 2013 had vastly different effects on pumpkins grown in different locations.
In one widely quoted comment, pumpkin grower Sarah Weaver, owner of Sarah’s Pumpkin Patch in the town of Orange, Va., told a newspaper, “This has been my best year (ever) weather-wise.”
But Charles Tart of Dunn, N.C., south of Raleigh, had a much different experience. He lost essentially his entire crop because of all the water.
“Everyone had a lot of rain this year, but in this area, we really got hammered,” he said. “We had 48 inches of rain in a 26-day period in June and July.”
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Making things worse, he grows many of his pumpkins on river land, and in 2013, that was not where you wanted to be.
“A lot of my pumpkins drowned,” he said. “We picked a few to sell at the state farmers market in Raleigh, but we didn't have any for our two retail stores.”
The lay of the land definitely made a difference, Tart said. Farmers who planted pumpkins on hilly land did better, but they still only got around 50 percent of a crop.
By October the supplies of pumpkins were ample, said Rick Cecil, Piedmont Triad Farmers Market near Greensboro, N.C.
Decorative gourds and other fall crops appeared to be in good supply also, he said.
Pumpkins in Virginia made it through the rainy season fairly well, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture. The standard Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin may in fact be a little bigger and heavier this year because of all the precipitation.
That rain, which seemed constant at the start of the season, delayed planting, and in low-lying areas, some growers lost a few acres, said Elaine Lidholm of the Virginia Department of Agriculture. “Pollination and germination were slow because of the cool, wet late summer.”
Although the harvest was a little late this year, overall, the crop bounced back. “It won’t be a bumper crop but it will be a good crop, Lidholm said.
Individual pumpkin growers reported:
• Supplies were down slightly from last year, which was a banner season, said grower Jay Yankey of Prince William County, Va., near Washington, D.C. But the quality was excellent, with good size, color and stems.