As the nights draw in and fall approaches, many of us (young and old) will be looking forward to Halloween.
There are many different traditions at this time of year, such as dressing up, going to see a scary movie, carving, eating, and drinking (hello pumpkin-spiced lattes) Halloween-themed produce.
But UK residents might be disappointed this year if they want to attend pumpkin carving events or buy their own to carve or eat at home, as growers are expecting crops to fall short.
What’s Behind the Pumpkin Shortage?
It’s already a serious situation for pumpkin growers. The Mole Valley Squash and Pumpkin Show, which is normally an annual event, has been canceled because they haven’t been able to grow enough pumpkins.
A leading wholesale pumpkin supplier is not taking any more orders this year and says it is already oversubscribed. “The crop is now looking good but slow to ripen due to lack of sunshine and heat, as a result, they are still looking very green,” says Lyburn Farm in Salisbury, UK.
Poor weather has been blamed for the crop shortages this year.
What Conditions Do Pumpkins Need to Grow?
Pumpkins need dry, warm, and sunny conditions if they are to ripen in the fields and grow to their normal size (so you can carve a scary face in one).
August was an unusually rainy month for much of the UK. In London, rainfall was up 48% on average for the month.
In some parts of the UK, there was only between 60% to 70% of the average sunshine of a normal August and the minimum temperatures didn’t get above 15°C (59°F) for much of the month.
As a result of the weather, there are still many green and unripened pumpkins in the fields, which means there might not be enough to go around this year, especially if the weather gets wetter through September and October.
If you live in the UK, get your pumpkins early if you don’t want to miss out on your spooky Halloween traditions! If you’re a home grower, keep an eye on gardening expert Monty Don’s Twitter account, as he’ll be offering advice on how to speed up the ripening of pumpkins and squashes.