Pumpkins aplenty despite rainy and dry seasons

October 13, 2015  

Pumpkin harvest

A hearty pumpkin from this year's crop in southwest Indiana. (Purdue Horticulture and Landscape Architecture photo/Wenjing Guan)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - There's no shortage of Indiana pumpkins this fall despite "two really different seasons" of extended rain and dry conditions that reduced yield for some growers, Purdue Extension plant pathologist Dan Egel says.

"Fortunately, most pumpkin growers were resourceful enough to produce a crop," he said. "Therefore, while individual producers may have suffered from poor yields, consumers are likely to see plenty of pumpkins at their local retail stand."

Indiana was exceptionally wet from early spring until about mid-July. Egel said most pumpkin growers, who plant in June, had to schedule planting operations around record rains. As a result, the pumpkin crop was delayed in many areas, and wet soils and flooding ruined some crops or forced replanting.

Pumpkins that did get planted may have suffered from diseases such as Phytophthora blight and downy mildew of cucurbits that wet weather favors.

Then in mid- to late July, Indiana weather turned very dry. Egel noted that most pumpkin growers went from working to drain fields to worrying about pumpkin development under dry conditions. Because most pumpkin growers do not irrigate their crops, dry weather during pumpkin development can result in fewer and smaller pumpkins.

"The 2015 season was really two different seasons for much of Indiana," Egel said. 

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu 

Source: Dan Egel, 812-886-0198, egel@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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