It’s fall, and that means holiday decorations, mazes full of hay, and finding that perfect pumpkin.
“Our boys are young so it’s exciting just to teach them about tradition and get them excited about Halloween and fall and something fun to do together,” said Taryn Bagrosay, a Colorado resident visiting Flat Acres Farm with her family.
But months before your pumpkin is ready for picking, it takes a lot of love from the farmers who produce it.
“Pumpkins are hard to grow a lot of times,” said Mike Smith, pumpkin farmer and owner of Flat Acres Farm. “They like a lot of water and then a lot of dry and some heat.”
These are ingredients that can be easy or tough to get each year depending on the weather.
“Soil’s got to warm up, you’ve got to have rain, we’ve got to have the heat, and water all at the right times,” Smith. “It’s just a gamble.”
It’s all based on what Mother Nature has in the cards.
“It’s hard for the plants to get established when it’s too hot,” Smith said. “And if it heats up when the plants are growing really good, then they grow really well. But at first, they can’t handle the really intense heat.”
Pumpkins also need extra protection when it gets too cold.
“We have insulated blankets that we put on them every night to keep the frost off when it’s going to freeze,” Smith said.
Did you know that certain types of weather phenomena, such as hail, can also turn a developing pumpkin patch more into a smash?
“I’ve seen hundreds of acres of pumpkins, that’s all it is just a bunch of soup bowls out there,” Smith said. “And you know, that’s these guys’ livelihoods.”
But with the weather in favor of pumpkin growth, you get beautiful ones like these ready for you to take home!
Once you find the perfect pumpkin, you want to make sure that you have it in the right environment: keep it in an area that’s cool, in the shade, or that is dark. You do not want it to be out in the direct sunlight or where it’s hot.
“Especially if you put them into the sun after you carve them, they don’t like that,” Smith said. “They dry out and then they lost all their moisture. And when they lose all their moisture, they just shrivel up.”
If there’s a chance for frost or freezing temperatures, make sure you move them accordingly and not into an area that’s too warm.
“Bring them into the garage, you know, where it’s cool,” Smith said. “And then put them back out into the shade in the daytime. Try to get a low/medium/average temperature.”
This will help your pumpkin live a long and happy life!
For WeatherNation, I’m Meredith Garofalo.