Excessive summer rain affects pumpkin production in NEPA

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NESCOPECK, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s pumpkin season, and this year the pumpkin harvest has been a little different for some farmers thanks to a soaked summer.

With the fall harvest and pumpkin season upon us, local farmers are harvesting their pumpkins following a rainy summer.

“All the rain came at the right time this year. The field didn’t have pumpkins in it for 10 years. It’s a matter of a lot of different things. Crop rotation, rain, and everything,” explained Harry Roinick, of Pumpkin Hill Produce Farms.

Many farms are dealing with saturated fields from all of the heavy rain. But, not all farms have that issue.

Roinick says they’ve had their best pumpkin harvest in the last 25 years.

“It’s just most of my pumpkins are on the 50 to 60 pound range instead of the 25 to 35 pound range. They’re just exceptionally bigger this year,” Roinick said.

Roinick believes a big reason for his bountiful harvest is due to his location and the drain tiles on the farm.

“We’re on a flat farm, we’re contour farming. All the diversion ditches and drain tiles, so we can get rid of the water when we need to,” Roinick explained.

Keeping crops healthy, despite heavy rain, is something many farms have had to deal with this year.

“You get rotten pumpkins on a wet year. Most of them will rot on you if you have bad drainage,” said Roinick. “On a dry year, you’re good for a normal year. You don’t like sitting in too much water.”

Other low-lying farms have suffered reduced pumpkin harvests thanks to flooding from several storms, including Hurricane Ida bringing several inches of rain to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Roinick says farmers agree that it’s time for some new weather after a wet season.

“We could use some dry weather now. This damp wet weather is no good. It’s good for disease forming and all that. We need some sunshine to dry things out,” said Roinick.

Fall typically means drier conditions for NEPA, a welcome change for many. According to the Pennsylvania Harvest Calendar, it is prime-time pumpkin picking season.

The calendar says, the best time to pick a pumpkin is from October 1st to the 15th, but many might be able to find some good ones as late as Halloween.

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