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Guess Who Is Eating The Pumpkins At Rogue Farms

Farming is full of challenges. The most recent one we discovered while checking up on our newly planted field of Dream Pumpkins here at Rogue Farms.

A healthy, young pumpkin sprout. Not all of them looked this good.
A healthy, young pumpkin sprout. Not all of them looked this good.

We saw lots of healthy sprouts across most of the field. But in some places the coverage was thin. In a few places we found hardly any sprouts at all.

The culprit is one of the most damaging agricultural pests of the Pacific Northwest, wireworms.

Wireworms aren’t worms at all. They are the larvae, or immature stage, of an insect called the click beetle. A wireworm’s favorite meal are seeds and the roots of germinating plants.

One of our Dream Pumpkin seeds just starting to germinate. The small rootlets are breakfast, lunch and dinner for wireworms.
One of our Dream Pumpkin seeds just starting to germinate. The small rootlets are breakfast, lunch and dinner for wireworms.
After a wireworm is done eating, it leaves behind an empty pumpkin seed.
After a wireworm is done eating, it leaves behind an empty pumpkin seed.

We’ve been here before. Field slugs went after our rye at Rogue Farms in Independence. Geese invade our barley fields at Rogue Farms in Tygh Valley every winter. Sometimes the damage is serious. Most of the time it’s manageable.

Thankfully, the invasion of the wireworms falls into the manageable category. As the weather heats up, wireworms dig themselves deep into the soil and we won’t see them again for another year. After dealing with slugs and geese, we know exactly what to do.

We’ll transplant healthy sprouts from the parts of the field where they’re thick, and replant them in areas damaged by wireworms.

Somehow this sprout grabbed ahold of pumpkin seed and pushed it out of the soil.
Somehow this sprout grabbed ahold of pumpkin seed and pushed it out of the soil.

Pests are just some of the challenges we took on when began growing our own ingredients nearly a decade ago. It’s harder to grow your own than it is to buy ingredients from someone else. But our way is more rewarding and a lot more fun.

Join us at Rogue Farms this spring for another season of growing beer, spirits, ciders and sodas. The pumpkin sprouts you see today will become the pumpkins we’ll use to brew our next batch of Pumpkin Patch Ale.

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