Will the record-breaking hot & dry summer impact your pumpkins?

Southern Arizona supply is ready for spooky season
Owner of a local pumpkin patch says he's happy with his crop after a record-breaking summer.
Owner of a local pumpkin patch says he's happy with his crop after a record-breaking summer.(Source: KOLD News 13)
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 8:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It may be Fall, but it sure doesn’t feel like it in Southern Arizona.

The triple-digits and dry conditions continue to drag on after a record-breaking summer.

What does the weather mean for your fall decor?

“I always tell people when I’m asked, ‘hey, how does the heat effect things?’ I say, ‘well how does it effect you? Are you a big fan of it?' Plants are the same way,” said John Post, owner of the Marana Pumpkin Patch.

Post said pumpkins are not “big fans” of the heat during the day, but the plant recovers and grows overnight.

According to the National Environmental Education Foundation, weather can have a big impact on the yearly pumpkin harvest:

  • Wet and soggy: Too much rain can delay planting and cause crops to rot. Mildews, which thrive in wet conditions, can damage leaves and stems or kill pumpkin vines and fruits.
  • Hot and dry: Dry, hot weather can cause pumpkins to produce too many male blossoms and too few female blossoms, resulting in a smaller harvest. Lack of water during droughts can also result in smaller and lighter-weight pumpkins.

While it was the second driest monsoon ever on record for Southern Arizona, Post said the lack of wet weather this season may have actually helped.

“Humidity is worse than the heat, so we still feel like we have a pretty good pumpkin crop coming off and it always gets better as the month goes on," said Post. "Even with the heat, we feel like we have a really good pumpkin crop this year.”

While you may be eager to pick up a pumpkin to get into the holiday spirit, it may still too hot to put outside and is definitely not ready for carving.

Post said you will want to store it in a dry or cool area. If that is inside a garage, you’ll want to keep it off the floor.

If you do put your pumpkin outside, don’t leave them low. This is the time of the year where we tend to see more wildlife, like javalena, venturing into neighborhoods for a snack.

You’ll want to hold off on carving your pumpkin just yet. Post said once you carve it, the expiration date will be near. For tips and techniques to preserve your pumpkin, click here.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.