COLUMBUS, Ohio - Pumpkin-picking time has arrived, and Ohio growers say plenty are available despite crop losses caused by bouts of heavy rain.
Too much rain at peak blooming times caused problems, especially in the northern part of the state, Ohio State University Extension educators told The Columbus Dispatch. The rainfall limits pollination, causes flooding and leads to root rot from water mold. The educators said some regions lost as much as 30 percent of their crop.
"The disease has been severe in many areas in Ohio and elsewhere," OSU plant pathologist Sally Miller told the newspaper.
The water drowned some spots in Steve Polter's fields at Polter's Berry Farm in Fremont, but he said things balanced out because the unharmed areas had a higher yield this year.
"We're having a decent year," he told The Dispatch.
Paul Fleitz of Fleitz Pumpkin Farm in Oregon told The Blade in Toledo that production should be solid but can't compare to last year's bumper crop, which was worth about $23 million compared with about $16.6 million in each of the previous two seasons.
"Last year was the best year ever, and they just got massive in size," he said. "But this year there's nothing to shout about."
Among those having a strong year is Leslie Gede of Gede Fruit Farm in Amherst. Gede told The Morning Journal of Lorain that the weather in that area has been near-perfect for pumpkins, with just enough rain at the start and then a dry spell to allow for growth.
"In a lot of places, people's pumpkins didn't come up, but we've been really fortunate," she said.
Ohio is among the top pumpkin-producing states. It produced about 174 million pounds last year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.