VP of Crops and Soils at Van Groningen & Sons Incorporated, Bryan Van Groningen said there is a bit of concern for their later season pumpkins. While earlier season pumpkins seem to have developed nicely, the recent heatwave in California may create some issues for the rest of the crop.
“Right now, I’m a little bit worried for our later fields,” said Van Groningen. “These were fields that were planted in late June and July, those won’t be harvested until about the middle of October. They’re still flowering and still setting pumpkins. I’m afraid with those big temperature spikes, they’ll drop their blossoms.”
Pumpkins still on the vine that are roughly the size of a baseball can turn yellow and flake off if they become too stressed. While temperatures have come down a bit this week, the long stretch of consistently hot weather has negatively impacted production.
“I know it’s going to hurt the crop of these late fields. There’s just no question about that. It’s just, how bad will it be? So, we’re just trying to do whatever we can to keep these plants as healthy as possible,” Van Groningen noted. “I’d say maybe the last 20-25 percent of our crop total acreage is what I’m referring to. The earlier stuff, like the 75 percent is probably already done what it’s going to do.”
For the fields that were planted in April, May, and June, weather conditions remained mild enough for solid crop development. Van Groningen said they began harvesting around August 22, with the vast majority of their 45 varieties already in the harvesting process. Shipping to retail outlets is underway in preparation for Halloween promotions. Van Groningen noted that would likely try to “reset” the vines by adding more fertilizer to hopefully induce more growth of the later season pumpkins.