While the temperatures are dropping, fall is reaching its peak for pumpkin season. At AJ’s Berry Farm, pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors are still available for picking. Owner of the farm, AJ MacArthur, is excited about this time of year. “Next weekend will be peak for people decorating the house, and then the following weekend and the weekend right before Halloween will be the people coming to carve, parties, things like that,” said MacArthur.
Typically the pumpkins would have been at their peak a bit earlier in the year, but this summer’s dry weather pushed back the crops. “So, if folks will remember, we were in a real dry period in June,” said MacArthur. “We planted the first week of June and we hadn’t had any rain for two weeks and we didn’t get any rain for three weeks after we planted them. We had to irrigate them to get them out of the ground to sprout.”
The pumpkins take about 85-120 days to grow from seed to fruit, and need quite a bit of space. “They like fertilizer, and if you want a ginormous one, they like space,” said MacArthur, “When we plant a seed of this size pumpkin here, because there are actually three different verities just here, we give them almost fifty square feet of space. And when you get up to these, they can have as little as thirty square feet. So, almost half, you can double the population. Now, the really big ones need one–hundred plus square feet.”
All of the pumpkins are in the squash family and have different varieties best for eating, carving, and for decorating. At AJ’s they still have plenty available for picking. “We’ve got a good display here,” said MacArthur. “But there’s probably twice as much for variety for sizes and shapes [in the patch], there’s still plenty out there.”