Pumpkin Shortage in the North!

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

A soil-based disease called Fusarium Fruit Rot is haunting pumpkin farmers in the North this year. It happens when there's too much rain in September.

Here in Southern Kentucky forecasters say we were two inches over the normal rain amount.

Chip Willingham at Just Piddlin' Pumpkin Farm in Woodburn says it's caused just a few diseased pumpkins on his patch this year.

"I've done everything I can and I've still got several pumpkins that have rotted," Willingham said.

He's not alone. This is the second year in a row pumpkin patches have suffered from the disease.

Hurricane Katrina dumped inches of rain in several states last year, including Kentucky, causing the disease to pop up in many fields. There's really no solution according to a vegetable crop specialist that says fungicide applications aren't effective at controlling the disease.

It's a soil-based disease that's difficult to cover since the fruit touches the ground. A minimum three-year-pumpkin rotation is recommended, but the disease has been observed even on virgin soil.

Fortunately for Chip Willingham and other pumpkin farmers in Southern Kentucky, only a few of their pumpkins have suffered.

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