The hot and dry weather continues to impact farmers in Central Virginia.
As the fall season begins and folks head to the patches for pumpkin picking, many growers like Dark Leaf Farm in Concord are just thankful there are pumpkins to pick.
“We plant pumpkins around the second week of June, and it turned dry,” Owner Joanne Jones says. “We had no rain for about a month straight.”
Jones and her husband traded in their tobacco growing days for pumpkin planting about a decade ago. This year, they were able to irrigate one field, but they couldn’t get to the others.
“We worried we wouldn’t have enough pumpkins to fulfill our needs,” she says.
While it may have been the driest season the Jones have seen on their farm, it’s not all bad.
“It turns out, we have plenty of pumpkins,” Jones says. “They’re not quite as big as they typically would be, but we definitely have enough.”
Other growers like Yoder’s Farm in Rustburg say they had to spend some cash to pollinate the pumpkins to get through the season. Still, they’d take that over a wet season any day.
“There are lots of molds, mildews and so forth that can affect and rot them,” Owner Delvin Yoder says.
Farmers say the dry weather helps with the pumpkins’ longevity, too.
“Actually, a dry year is healthy for a pumpkin to grow if you can keep those roots wet and keep them growing,” Yoder says.
For those looking for the perfect pumpkin this season, these farmers are offering some advice. They say always go for the ones with the strongest stems.