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Exploring the pumpkin patch

Lisa Varano, staff writer

October 17, 2010 — Halloween is only two weeks away. Canadians are searching for the perfect pumpkin.

Take your pick
Take your pick

Across Canada, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes are being snatched up and transformed into decorations and recipes this month.

Pumpkins can grow almost anywhere in our country. “This is the perfect climate for growing pumpkins. In most cases, it's never too hot, never too cold. Pumpkins tend to thrive in drier weather. They've done very well here in Canada,” says Jamie Reaume of the Holland Marsh Growers' Association in Ontario.

Ontario is having an ideal pumpkin season. There has been plenty of rain, but it has been warm and dry in between rainfalls. But last year, the pumpkin season in the province was a struggle. It was too rainy and too cold.

The latest crop has produced many impressive giant pumpkins and a large number of medium-sized pumpkins.

Jack O'Lantern glows
Jack O'Lantern glows

In British Columbia, pumpkin growers were worried by a wet start to fall, but the fields have recently dried out. A year ago, it was the opposite scenario. The pumpkins had ripened early because of hot and dry weather, and some of them couldn't last until Halloween.

Pumpkins need the right mix of rain and sunshine to thrive.

“They like a lot of sun. They like a lot of rain. But they don't like to be sitting in water. So rainy days, with dry days in between, seemed to work out really good this year,” says Jerry Howell of the Howell Family Pumpkin Farm in Ontario.

Not everyone has been lucky. It may be challenging to find a pumpkin in parts of the Prairies, which have been swamped by heavy rainfall in recent months.

Once you do find the perfect pumpkin, don't carve it right away. Wait until right before Halloween. Your carved pumpkin will only last about a week.

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