DOVER, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire pumpkin farmers said the summer’s wet weather was perfect – for mildew and fungus.

The heavy rain in July and August and cool temperatures made it harder for Bill Toll, of Emery Farm in Durham, to grow the state’s official fruit this year. Toll deals with mildew every year, but said this year it was a little worse.

Mildew can attack the plant’s leaves, preventing them from growing quickly. Funguses, like Plectosporium, can cause white lesions to appear on the fruit.

Geoffrey Njue, a University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Agent, in Strafford County, said the diseases can generally be controlled with fungicides. But the fungicides were difficult to apply this summer with all the rain.

“Even spraying them was not feasible because you do it and it would wash off,” Njue said. “It was also difficult to get into the fields because they were so wet.”

Njue and other agricultural experts said pumpkins will still be available this season, though not as many as in previous years.

Nada Haddad, an educator with the Rockingham County branch of UNH Cooperative Extension, recommended managing the diseases by properly spacing out plants so the pumpkins can dry out faster.

Some pumpkins farmers say the season wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t spectacular either.

“I know some growers didn’t have a great crop because they couldn’t get them to pollinate,” said Giff Burnap, owner of Farmington’s Butternut Farm. “When it’s so damp and soggy, the bees don’t get out and work that much.”


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