Great pumpkins survive drought

October 2, 2012 3:45:30 PM PDT
Too much heat and too little rain added up to a disappointing harvest in the Midwest. Except for pumpkin patches.

For 32 years, Davidson's Giant Pumpkins in Harvard, Il., has been growing extra big pumpkins for the fall. And, despite the drought, they arrived in time for fall.

"We got a good one here," Larry Davidson, owner, Davidson's Giant Pumpkins, said. How much does a "good one" weigh?

"Probably 270," Davidson said. And at 270 pounds, that's not one of the really big guys. Davidson and his son terry have grown pumpkins that approach 600 pounds. But this year was different. There was almost no rain and way too much sun.

While corn and soybeans dried up, the pumpkins survived.

"They have leaves that shade the ground after about the middle of June, and then they have leaves that are shaped like a funnel, and they can funnel in all the rain that comes down to the roots," Davidson said. "They take advantage of every drop of rain that comes even the dew in the morning."

Pumpkins are almost drought resistant. Even a quarter inch of rain drains into the funnel and then down a hollow tube to the vine to feed the pumpkin. This year despite the weather, the Davidsons grew a monster weighing in at about 475 pounds. He says the secret is buying seeds from world champion pumpkin growers.

"Last year we paid $20 for one seed and we got a 550 pound pumpkin. This year we got a 350 pound pumpkin out of a $20 seed," Davidson said.

Davidson's Giant Pumpkins will sell more than 1,000 pumpkins this year, ranging in size and price from a buck up to $200. But, they won't sell their biggest.

Davidson's Giant Pumpkins
9 am to 9 pm, 7days a week
21605 Streit Road
Harvard, IL 60033
Phone: 815-943-7042


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