Drought monitor: Slim pickin’s at the pumpkin patch?

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MARCUS, Iowa (KCAU) — As cooler temperatures arrive, so does pumpkin picking season. However, like many crops, the dry, hot summer weather could have an impact on this year’s yield.

This fall marks the 25th year the Hoefling family has grown and sold pumpkins south of Marcus, Iowa. This summer was one of the driest they can remember.

“We did start out very dry this year, I mean it was probably the driest spring we got into. And the month of June was really dry and I actually had to water each plant twice during the month of June. And that probably took two weeks to get through the patch twice,” said Alan Hoefling.

Hoefling knows a thing or two about growing pumpkins. He’s been doing it since he was a little boy helping out his grandma on the farm. Now, he and his wife Geralyn have built a barn, a corn maze, and more to entertain families from all over every fall. They have over fifty varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash and even some Indian corn to offer.

However, the dry conditions made the prospects of this year’s yield look grim.

“And on June 26, we got three inches of rain. And since that day, we’ve probably picked up 10, 11 inches of rain since June 26, so we had a very tough start, but the good Lord blessed us with a lot of rain,” said Hoefling.

Now, Hoefling said its about picking time with preparations in the works to host visitors in the coming weeks, thanks in large part to the moisture and some helpful bees.

“We have a lot of activity out here early in the morning when the flower is blooming. We got all kinds of bees flying around so they did their job. Like I said, we’re probably going to have one of the better crops we’ve had in years, if not the best,” said Hoefling.

Hoefling’s Pumpkin Patch will open to the public on September 24.

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