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News Filed Under Pumpkins

Two young girls sit on a colorful quilt among leaves in the grass as they play with a white and an orange pumpkin.
October 20, 2017 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a minor agricultural crop in Mississippi, but demand increases every year as consumers use them mostly for decoration.

Casey Barickman, Mississippi State University Extension Service vegetable specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said the state has an estimated 500 to 600 acres of pumpkins.

Katy Chen of Louisville, Mississippi, holds the unofficial mascot of May’s Corn Maze in Stewart, Mississippi, in front of the agritourism farm’s pumpkin patch. The state enjoyed a strong pumpkin harvest for the second straight year. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
October 21, 2016 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi's October weather has offered more than enough of the most vital tonic pumpkins need for growth: full sunlight.

But the state has lacked another key element: water. Fortunately, the majority of the state’s pumpkin fields are irrigated, so the ongoing drought has had little effect on this year’s plentiful harvest.

However, nonirrigated pumpkin acreage has seen better days, said Casey Barickman, an assistant professor at the Mississippi State University North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.

Large pumpkins just right for jack-o-lanterns await selection at a store in Starkville, Mississippi, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
October 23, 2015 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi pumpkin growers live for conditions like they have seen in 2015.

Wet weather during the growing season delayed pumpkin harvest and increased disease pressure for some Mississippi growers. These pumpkins were displayed at Mitchell Farms in Collins, Mississippi on Oct. 20, 2014. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)
October 24, 2014 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

RAYMOND -- Pumpkins are popping up on porches across Mississippi, but some growers had trouble getting them there.

Many Mississippi pumpkin farmers experienced heavy disease pressure and a delayed harvest due to frequent summer rains.

Growers planted more acres this year, but harvested fewer pumpkins than usual, said Stanley Wise, Union County agriculture and natural resource enterprise and community development agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Country Pumpkins in Caledonia, Miss., has more than 80 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds after one of the best growing seasons in decades. The Lowndes County farm is one of a growing number of agritourism sites in the state. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Tim Allison)
October 18, 2013 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s pumpkins have experienced something of a holiday miracle with one of their best seasons ever.

David Nagel, horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said 2013 has been the best year for pumpkins since he started working in the state about 25 years ago. Mississippi growers are producing more and larger pumpkins than their competitors in states to the north.

Turban squash is a popular, hat-shaped variety that Native Americans grew. The bulb-like top makes a good fall decoration with its bizarre shape and multicolored stripes. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman)
September 16, 2013 - Filed Under: Other Vegetables, Pumpkins

Sept. 22 may be the first day of fall, but the best way to know summer is ending is to look at all the colorful pumpkin and gourd displays at local garden centers around the state.

Extension agricultural agents review pumpkins recently harvested at County Pumpkins in Lowndes County. The fall tour participants include, from left, Jeff Wilson of Lowndes County, farm owner Dwight Colson of Caledonia, Kimberly Wilborn of Lamar County, Julie White of Oktibbeha County and Reid Nevins of Lowndes County. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Scott Corey)
October 18, 2012 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Just in time for Halloween and Election Day, fall decorations are available in red, white and warty.

David Nagel, horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shoppers for fall arrangements are finding much more than the traditional jack-o’-lantern pumpkins. Designer breeders are giving growers selections of pumpkins that come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, textures and sizes. Other new varieties offer disease resistance, which is especially important in Mississippi’s humidity.

Most of Mississippi's pumpkins are planted in June and July so they can be harvested in September and October for fall decorations. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 7, 2011 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins, Commercial Horticulture

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi pumpkin producers have their work cut out for them growing their colorful crop in the heat of summer so pumpkins are ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.

David Nagel, a horticulturist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said producers must plant and grow the crop at the toughest time of the year so it can be harvested in a narrow window of opportunity.

Mississippi lawn and garden centers are providing pumpkins in a variety of sizes for fall displays, such as this one at the Oktibbeha County Co-op on Oct. 15, 2010. Dry conditions this year reduced the size and number of Mississippi's carving pumpkins, but miniature varieties are abundant. (Photo by Linda Breazeale)
October 15, 2010 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Pumpkins, Commercial Horticulture

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Halloween is surrounded by mystery, and one of the greatest mysteries to Mississippi farmers is why anyone would want to grow pumpkins.

David Nagel, vegetable specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service, said pumpkins are hard to grow in Mississippi because of the late-summer weather, but farmers are eternal optimists.

These multicolored, textured Autumn Wings gourds make perfect fall decorations. Gourds come in amazing varieties and will display well all season.
October 14, 2010 - Filed Under: Pumpkins, Family, Lawn and Garden, Vegetable Gardens

The changing season and cooler temperatures make now the perfect time to decorate the front porch with a fall harvest display. These displays are ideal for Halloween and add charm through the season.

Remember to use more than just pumpkins in your display. Pumpkins are a member of the cucurbit family, which also includes squashes and gourds. Pumpkins can be orange, red, yellow, white, blue, or striped. They can be miniature, flattened, necked, smooth, winged or warty.

These pumpkins found at J&A Farms and Nursery in Flora are among the few Mississippi pumpkins to have been harvested early or to have survived the heavy September and October rains. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)
October 16, 2009 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Pumpkins

By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE – Heavy rains in Mississippi and nationwide have decreased the number of pumpkins available for harvest, but not the quality of the pumpkins already pulled from the fields.

Pumpkins are popular in the fall for decorating and baking, but they are not a major crop for Mississippi, which only has a few commercial growers.

October 17, 2008 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Pumpkins do not grab the headlines as a significant crop, but they fill a niche for many Mississippi farmers who need to supplement cash flow.

“It's best to spread your effort out with several different enterprises because your farm is a business, after all,” said pumpkin producer Clay Meeks of Tippah County, who also grows soybeans and strawberries, and raises cattle. “It helps to have money coming in at different times of the year.”

Clayton Salmons picks out a pumpkin for his jack-o-lantern at Fresh-Way Produce in Ridgeland. (Photo by Jim Lytle)
October 19, 2007 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's hot, dry summer reduced pumpkin yields to a ghost of what most growers hoped to see.

David Nagel, horticulture specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said about half of the state's growers produced an average crop and the other half had no crop at all.

Lauren Beech, age 22 months, searches for the perfect jack-o'-lantern at the Circle Y Pumpkin Patch, near her home in Corinth. (Photo by Jim Lytle)
October 13, 2006 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Consumers may have trouble scaring up pumpkins for holiday decorations this fall.

David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said most growers whose fields were already dry at planting time chose not to plant any pumpkins this year if they did not have access to irrigation. Some growers with nonirrigated farms took the chance if their fields received some rain around the first of July and now are harvesting significantly reduced yields.

October 28, 2005 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hurricane Katrina robbed Mississippi of pumpkins on about 25 percent of the state's acreage, but the greatest losses may be markets in the coastal and New Orleans areas.

David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the entire crop below Interstate 20 -- just under 100 acres -- was lost.

“The biggest blow from the hurricanes was not crop damage; it was the loss of market,” Nagel said.

October 7, 2002 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

By John Hawkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- This year's pumpkin harvest proved fruitful, despite challenges from insects, disease and rain.

One vegetable many wouldn't normally consider growing in Mississippi's sweltering fields is the pumpkin. Not many growers in the state raise pumpkins, and the few who do grow them usually produce only a few acres. For these growers, raising a successful harvest can have its challenges.

October 12, 2001 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- For some Mississippi pumpkin growers, the real profits are found in creative marketing efforts, not just growing a good crop.

This year was Marshall Estes' first attempt at growing pumpkins on his family farm in Grenada County. His couple of acres may not make a major economic impact in the state's economy, but the sentiment behind it speaks volumes.

October 13, 2000 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mother Nature pulled a cruel trick on growers of Mississippi's non-irrigated pumpkins, and the few treats available after the hot, dry summer will be found in patches with access to water.

David Nagel, vegetable specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers irrigate less than 100 acres of Mississippi's 480 commercial pumpkin acres.

September 3, 1999 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Extremely high temperatures and dry conditions combined to deliver the knockout blow to Mississippi's 1999 commercial pumpkin crop.

Dr. David Nagel, horticulturist with Mississippi State University Extension Service, said after growers planted pumpkins from late June through July, rain almost never fell in the North Mississippi fields.

October 16, 1998 - Filed Under: Pumpkins

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The success of the 1998 pumpkin crop depended on the availability of August rains or irrigation. For most growers, this wasn't their year.

Pumpkins grow best in dry and warm (but not hot) conditions, said Dr. David Nagel, Extension horticulturist at Mississippi State University.

"They are drought tolerant, but not that tolerant. They aren't desert plants," Nagel said. "Two of the state's pumpkin growers who irrigate had a great year, but the rest of the growers were lucky if they had an average year."

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