Recent rain causing problems for pumpkin growers

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

At Pumpkin Hollow in Piggott, their pulling in, perfectly placing, and pricing their pumpkins--getting ready for one of their busiest times of year.

"This will be year 17 for us.   We started in 1993.   We can hardly believe it," said Ellen Dalton.

Dalton says producing  pumpkins in Arkansas' humid summers is a challenge.

"Ideal pumpkin growing weather is probably in the Midwest somewhere--not in Arkansas," said Dalton.

Despite all of the Prizewinner, Jack-O-Lantern, and Cinderella pumpkins, owners say this has certainly not been a fairy tale season.

"When you just keep getting rain and rain and conditions are warm and moist like this, you know it's trouble time," said Dalton.

It's trouble for many pumpkin growers around the state after the past couple of very wet weeks.  Dalton says pumpkins growing in low spots holding water don't do well, and growers not being able to get in the fields to spray because of water has made this summer particularly tough for many.

"Once the pumpkins are blooming, there's been pollination issues because bees don't like being in the rain anymore than we do," said Dalton.

Since you can't stop the rain, Dalton says they're just working extra hard and spending extra money when it's not raining.

"Checking really often for diseases, sending samples off to the state pathology lab, trying to rotate our fungicides and spray more often, again, at greater expense than normal," said Dalton.

Dalton says their yields will be down slightly.  She says the good news is, because of the extra time and money they've put into this year's pumpkin crop--she's confident Pumpkin Hollow visitors will never know this summer has been tough.

"There's going to be pumpkins here to buy and happy smiling kids....I think that will be what happens," said Dalton.

Pumpkin Hollow officially opens on Saturday, September 26th.

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