May 21, 2024

Dry weather affects pumpkin yields

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Indiana’s fall pumpkin yields will vary, depending on summer rainfall and irrigation, according to an expert at Purdue University.

Pumpkin growth depends heavily on timely summer rainfall — and much of Indiana experienced hot, dry weather.

Although yields will vary, plenty of pumpkins will be available this fall in Indiana.

“For many farms, the pumpkin season actually starts this time of year as they are planted into a cover crop that is going into the ground right now,” said Stephen Meyers, assistant professor of weed science at Purdue.

“The cover crop will then be terminated in late spring or early summer, which is when the pumpkins are then planted to time with a fall harvest.

“For our farm, we planted and didn’t receive much, if any, rainfall for June, which doesn’t encourage much growth for the pumpkins starting out.”

While a dry summer isn’t good for seed germination, the dry weather means less disease pressure, Meyers said.

Pumpkin Facts

• The traditional jack-o’-lantern is the most popular variety grown. It’s big enough to carve, but light enough to be carried out of the pumpkin patch.

• The majority of Indiana’s commercial pumpkin crop is sold into the “fresh market,” meaning a consumer buys the whole pumpkin the way it comes off the vine rather than processed into consumables like canned pumpkin or pumpkin seeds.

• Indiana is one of the nation’s largest pumpkin producers, cultivating around 6,000 acres each year.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor