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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

Despite hot, dry summer, pumpkin crop faring 'decent'

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SIKESTON -- Summer's severe drought mixed with the heat may not have created the largest pumpkins this fall, but there are still plenty to go around.

"We've got nice pumpkins but they're not as big," said Kevin Johns, who owns Cates Orchard in Dudley with his wife, Janet Cates Johns. "We've had a decent crop-- not as good as crop as in years past though."

Part of the reason for that was the dryness from the summer's severe drought, Johns said. The pumpkins didn't get a good stand, he added.

"The heat made blooms fall off," Johns said. "Pumpkins like hot, dry weather but they don't like it real, real hot."

It also seemed as though there was a lot of bug pressure from insects, Johns said, adding it may have been due to the mild winter.

"We also have birdhouse gourds and swan gourds, and they've done really good this year," Johns said.

In addition, apples, pears and sweet potatoes have also fared well this fall.

"We really had a good crop of sweet potatoes," Johns said. "They like a dry year and they're really pretty."

The apples are decent size -- maybe a little bit smaller due to the dry weather, but their quality is good, he said.

And customers are ready to decorate their lawns and eat the fall fruits and vegetables.

Although Causey Nursery in Sikeston doesn't grow their own pumpkins, the nursery gets the pumpkins it sells from a supplier in Missouri, owner Valerie Causey said.

"Most of them are a pretty good size," Causey said. "We have a few that are a little bit smaller."

Like the Stoddard County orchard, pumpkins and other fall decor such as mums are selling quickly, Causey said.

"We had a pallet of 45 pumpkins, and we only have two left," Causey said earlier this week.

Another load of pumpkins has arrived since.

Both Causey and Johns said they expect even more people to get their pumpkins over the next week or so.

"The kids are really getting into with it getting cooler," Causey said. "Everybody is ready for fall."

For the complete story, see the Oct. 14 Standard Democrat.