BELTON, Mo. - After a hot, dry summer, many of us are ready to put it all behind us and move on to autumn.
But what has the summer drought done to our most popular fall crop?
At Johnson Farms in Belton, Mo., there was a flurry of activity as they prepared for visitors Friday. Playgrounds were being cleaned and hay bales put in place. The baby chicks seemed excited, but the ducklings seemed nervous. The racing pigs were saving their energy, and mums were flying out the door.
Most everything seemed ready to go as the first weekend of autumn approached.
But what about the king of the harvest time celebration? Did the pumpkins survive the summer?
Well, here they say it’s pretty good -- thanks to lots of hard work.
"Our pumpkins are good because we have a lake and we irrigate," Jeanne Johnson said. "So every single night this summer my husband was out and he was moving pipe, making sure that all these plants could live."
It appears reports of the demise of the great pumpkin are greatly exaggerated, at least here at Johnson Farms. But the summer drought was almost too much, even with a lake to rely on.
"It was really low, we were down to about probably two more waterings and we were gonna not have enough water to plant," Johnson explained. "And then we got a nice big old rain and we were back in business."
The Johnsons helped things along with a system that drains water into the pond from off the barn roof. They've also planted a cover crop of daikon radishes in the fallow field they will use for pumpkins next year. Their deep roots will freeze over the winter and leave moisture deep in the soil for the next growing season.
So you should find plenty of the iconic orange gourds of autumn in varying sizes, pre-picked or waiting in the fields for you. It looks like a good season ahead.
"The pumpkins, there's a lot that are ripe, but there's a lot that are gonna ripen in the next couple weeks too," Johnson said.
They say the dry summer even helped stave off disease.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Weather Headlines