HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Halloween spirit is all around us with a pumpkin on every corner. Last year, the fields and pumpkins were soggy, but this year brought the total opposite.
During a dry summer this year in the growing period for pumpkins, some farmers had to find ways to keep their gorgeous gourds healthy.
The pumpkin harvest is in full swing across Pennsylvania, but this summer lacked rainfall for many farmers.
“Little bit of moisture in the spring when they’re germinating. During the summer an average about an inch of rainfall a week,” said Harry Roinick, owner of Pumpkin Hill Produce Farms.
But we have been below average in rain throughout the summer, Roinick accidentally found a way to help his pumpkins grow this year.
“We happened to grow them on a wetter farm this year, and we grew them under old strawberry plastic which benefited us big time,” Roinick said.
That plastic kept what little moisture they had at the surface. Other local farms relied on irrigation when needed.
“Fortunately for us, we irrigate our sweet corn and our other vegetables, as well as pumpkins. So we had a real nice crop, maybe a little less than other years,” Jon Lucas, owner of Lucas Farms explained.
This time last year, many farms were soaked after heavy rains fell throughout the summer.
“Yeah absolutely a lot better to be dry. Especially if you have the ability to be irrigated and give them the water when they need it,” Lucas said.
Without that needed irrigation this summer, many farms have struggled.
“Their yields would be way down and their size would be really way down. A lot of them didn’t even get many pumpkins at all that I know of. They just burned up,” Lucas added.
A bigger problem than the rain this year has been the growing cost to plant.
“Fertilizer prices have doubled, fuel prices have more than doubled. Chemicals and seed, to plant our crops, we probably spent twice as much money this year as we have any other year to plant,” Lucas told Eyewitness News.
Pumpkins can still be bought through Halloween or until they run out. Both farmers look forward to Halloween as it signals the end of their busiest summer growing months.