Some apple and pumpkin crops thriving after uncertain growing season

Published: Aug. 28, 2019 at 5:24 PM EDT
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You've been hearing it all summer: Projections for key crops like corn and soybeans weren't looking great thanks to record spring rain. Some fall fruits, however, are now thriving.

At Stevens Gardens in Monclova Township, they say it's been one of the strangest growing seasons in recent memory. Owner/operator Debbie Stevens-Laux says they "normally plant pumpkins on Memorial Day Weekend, and this year we weren't able to get in because it was too wet."

They managed to get half the plot planted two weeks behind schedule, switching to a different type of pumpkin seed later in the month. In any case, the patch they started with has now exceeded expectations.

"The first planting has actually caught up to where we thought it would've been, had we planted normally," explains Stevens-Laux. "It was a hot summer, with plenty of rain, and the pumpkins did great."

The weather, of course, has not been too kind to other local crops, yet the bright orange results in the fields here speak for themselves.

As for another popular fall crop -- apples -- experts say this could be one of the better growing seasons we've had in a while. In fact, unlike with some other crops, the wet spring can actually be credited for getting the apples to grow as big as they have.

"The apples have looked good all along," explains Stevens-Laux. "They loved the cold winter, and this spring they came on real nice and looked beautiful. We don't usually water our apple trees, so they got everything they needed this year"

Per the U.S. Apple Association, Michigan's apple crop projections are up 14% compared to last year, with Ohio seeing a marked improvement as well. Still, Stevens-Laux says they're ready for the weather to cooperate this season.

"We'd really like the rain to shut off anytime now. We really don't need any more rain, and we're hoping for more dry weekends through the fall now."