Indiana’s fall pumpkin yields will differ, relying on summer time rainfall, irrigation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — While genetics play a key position in a pumpkin’s potential dimension, the festive fall vegetable’s progress depends closely on well timed summer time rainfall. Looking again at June and July’s precipitation totals, the record-setting sizzling and dry months pose doable trigger for concern for a lot of who develop and purchase pumpkins.

Stephen Meyers, an assistant professor of weed science within the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, stated on his household’s small farm that planting 1 / 4 of an acre of pumpkins in June was troublesome, with information set as one of many hottest Junes in Indiana’s recorded historical past.

“For many farms, the pumpkin season really begins this time of 12 months as they’re planted into a canopy crop that’s going into the bottom proper now. The cowl crop will then be terminated in late spring or early summer time, which is when the pumpkins are then planted to time with a fall harvest,” Meyers stated. “For our farm, we planted and didn’t obtain a lot, if any, rainfall for June, which doesn’t encourage a lot progress for the pumpkins beginning out.”

Indiana is likely one of the nation’s largest pumpkin producers, cultivating round 6,000 acres every year. Large-scale operations typically have irrigation methods in case of restricted rainfall; nonetheless, there will also be a slight profit to a dry summer time.

“A dry summer time clearly isn’t good for seed germination, however the dryness means there may be much less illness stress,” Meyers stated. “Pumpkins are vulnerable to quite a lot of plant pathogens, however when situations are drier, meaning fewer fungicides must be sprayed.”

Although farms that don’t make the most of an irrigation system can lose yields to a summer time drought, farms in these conditions usually replant the areas the place pumpkin seeds did not germinate or younger vegetation died early within the rising season.

“On our farm, we let nature take its course for probably the most half, however we did return this 12 months and replant in some spots,” he stated. “Different pumpkin varieties have totally different days to maturity. So, for instance, your preliminary planting would possibly take 115 days to achieve maturity, however different varieties can take 90 to 95 days. So, while you return and replant, you choose the same selection that may be a bit faster.”

 The conventional jack-o’-lantern is the most well-liked selection grown — sufficiently big to carve however mild sufficient to be carried out of the pumpkin patch. The weeks main as much as October additionally convey out individuals in search of extra ornamental varieties.

“We see lots of people in search of the totally different coloured pumpkins, a lot of which develop with type of a flat floor so you possibly can stack them,” Meyers stated. “They appear to be a preferred porch ornament that individuals search.”

The majority of Indiana’s industrial pumpkin crop is offered into the “contemporary market,” that means a client buys the entire pumpkin the way in which it comes off the vine reasonably than processed into consumables like canned pumpkin or pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin yields will likely be very site-specific this 12 months. Although pumpkin harvest for some was delayed and yields will likely be decrease, Meyers stated to anticipate loads of pumpkins obtainable in Indiana, whether or not customers wish to carve them or bake a pie.

Source: Stephen Meyers, 

Writer: Jillian Ellison, 765-494-0948, 

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,

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