Three of our Wise County Grow Appalachia families who are interested in commercial production were able to join us for a misty, end-of-the-season tour of a pumpkin farm in a neighboring county last week. We toured the farm of Amy Fannon, Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources in Lee County, Virginia.
A few of our families grow pumpkins, but not on any large scale. In fact, only 750 pounds of pumpkins have been reported by our growers this year. But pumpkin production is something I get questions about, and we may consider getting more pumpkins seeds next year.
Fannon spoke about several facets of pumpkin production. She has especially had issues with pickleworms boring holes in the fruits this year and said she’s had the largest percentage of loss ever due to these pests.
Due to the rainy year, powdery mildew has been an ongoing challenge (as our growers are well aware from their experiences with summer squash, melons and cucumbers).
Fannon grows numerous varieties of pumpkins for both ornamental and decorative purposes and markets most of her products wholesale.
She discussed crop rotation, explaining that her pumpkins always follow corn. Pointing out a large cornfield across the road, she said that will be where the pumpkins are next year. After the corn is harvested, wheat is sown, and the pumpkins are planted into the wheat stubble in early June.