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Ohio's pumpkin harvest: Signs of weather difficulties during growth

Ohio’s pumpkin patches seems to have fewer pumpkins or a less-varied selection this year. This is likely due to a tough spring/summer that are now bearing out in a stunted autumn crop.

Farmers growing pumpkins across the state of Ohio have had to contend with a lot of springtime rain in April and May, which kept a wide variety of crops from being planted on time. Pumpkins are no different, as the giant orange gourds are fragile when newly-planted.

"We had to re-plant some," said Circleville area pumpkin farmer Justin Jacobs, who is setting up for the Circleville Pumpkin Show this week. "They love moisture, but if they get too much it will cause rot, and you'll have insecticide problems and fungus problems."

Cody Wilcox, a farm manager at Lynd's Fruit Farm in Pataskala, said early-season rain contributed to a 50% decline in the pumpkin crop on Lynd's U-Pick patch. The weather has wreaked havoc on Ohio's traditional tourist farm crops over the past two years. In September 2018, Lynd's Fruit Farm and other farms experienced a bout of "bitter rot" on popular Honeycrisp apples due to a weeks-long mix of heavy rain and extreme heat.


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