Tennessee Ready to Pump Up Pumpkin Production

Those who thought a pumpkin was a pumpkin was a pumpkin will think differently after seeing more than 80 varieties of the Halloween staple at the University of Tennessee Pumpkin Field Day Oct. 9.

Published on: Sep 4, 2009
It's a sign of the season. Nothing says autumn like a bright orange pumpkin. On Oct. 9, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will show visitors how to grow the best varieties of these fall fruits at Pumpkin Field Day at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. 

Here UT AgResearch vegetable experts will introduce visitors to more than 80 pumpkin varieties they have been evaluating throughout the year. You can learn what kinds of pumpkins do well in your area and what it takes to produce them.  Additional sessions will focus on insect, disease and weed control in the pumpkin patch, including varieties that can stand up to Powdery Mildew. Experts will also cover marketing strategies and other management options. These informative sessions will be especially helpful for first-time growers, but will also provide seasoned producers with the latest information on pumpkin production in the Southeast, including pesticide updates, marketing tips and alternative production methods.

"Last year we had several new growers who benefited from the field day," says UT Extension Vegetable Specialist Annette Wszelaki. "We're seeing increased pumpkin production this year and our research with powdery mildew has definitely helped growers choose resistant varieties, which is the first line of defense in combating this disease."

The West Tennessee Research and Education Center is also home to the largest, most diverse pumpkin display in the south. Typically, more than 5,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash that are grown on the Center's grounds for research purposes are compiled to create this stunning work of art.  Visitors to the field day can peruse the display and get great fall decorating ideas for roadside stands or agritourism operations. 

Pumpkin Field Day is a free event. It begins at 1 p.m. The West Tennessee Research and Education Center is located at 605 Airways Boulevard in Jackson, Tennessee. For directions or more information on the field day visit the web site: west.tennessee.edu.

The Pumpkin Display is located behind the main building and will remain open to visitors through the end of November. The Research and Education Center grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset.