Excessive rain rots pumpkin crops

7:04 PM, Sep 2, 2013   |    comments
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  • Pumpkin leaves covered with white blight.
  • Pumpkins vines are a brownish color instead of a healthy bright green.
    

(WBIR - Fentress County) Wet weather in moderation is usually welcomed by farmers, as the rain helps crops to grow, but the excessive amount of rain East Tennessee has experienced this year seems to be hurting farmers' hopes of having plenty of pumpkins.

In Fentress County, pumpkins are a pretty big deal. In fact, it's where growers meet to weigh their biggest pumpkins each year in Allardt. Not too far from Allardt, you can find Sycamore Springs Farm in Jamestown. That's where Joe and Lyna Pennycuff spend most of their time planting all sorts of things, including pumpkins.

Lyna Pennycuff said, "You should hear when we bring a wagon load of children through here and they hop off to select that perfect pumpkin."

But this season, finding the perfect local pumpkin may be a little more difficult, as many of the pumpkins planted within Sycamore Springs Farm's six pumpkin patches have rotted due to diseases.

Joe Pennycuff pointed out several pumpkin leaves with white spots. He said, "These white spots are a sign of what's commonly called a white blight on the plants and over here is another type of blight called microdomain blight and it has the dashes on the stems and this causes the stems to wither up and rot away."

Lyna Pennycuff pointed out an area of brown vines. She said, "These vines and leaves should be bright green. They should be full of blossoms."

The Pennycuffs say the excess amount of rain is to blame for the pumpkin plight, causing many to mature too soon and also washing away pesticides, killing the pumpkins.

The couple said they've lost 80 percent of their pumpkins this season, but they know of other pumpkin planters who have lost their entire crop.

For more information on Sycamore Springs Farm, visit http://www.sycamorespringsfarmtn.com/.

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