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Local Pumpkins Flourishing Despite Drought

Pumpkin crops are doing well despite the drought which is good news for farmers as Halloween approaches.

Although California is in an exceptional drought, Lane Farms owner John Lane said decades of experience has helped him prepare for the dry spell.

“Here we have one of the pumpkins that just starting to turn color. By next week it will be good and orange,” said Lane as he checked on a field of pumpkin plants.

The orange gourds aren’t quite ready but soon they will be picked, sold and carved.

The field gets watered just once a week. Even with limited irrigation, Lane said the crop is doing well.

“Here’s our drip tube. We’ll probably irrigate these just one more time and then they’ll be done,” he said.

Lane said this isn’t his first drought he’s worked though but it is one of the worst he’s ever seen. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Lane Farms pumpkin patch.

This year his farm is fairing well but if it doesn’t rain soon, he’ll have to rethink what he plants in the upcoming seasons.

“Well we might even cut back on the sweet corn that we grow because it takes quite a bit of water for the return,” he said.

In the late 70s, the farm started to use drip irrigation and by the 80s, all the water was run through the plastic tubes lining the fields.

“The water goes through here and comes out every eight inches and this one puts out 40 gallons an hour. It just drips out and does a really good job,” said Lane.

The 40 gallons of water is distributed though 100 feet of pipe.

Lane said switching from sprinklers to drip irrigation uses about a quarter of the water he used to. Although the watering system is working well, he and other farmers will need the rain soon.

The farm pumpkin patch opens on September 27.

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