The full moon that occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox is always called the “harvest moon” and its presence over the next few days signals for Anne Arundel farmers to prepare their pumpkin patches.
Around the fall equinox, the full moon rises around sunset for several nights in a row, which traditionally provided farmers with just enough extra light for them to finish their harvests before the killing frosts of fall set in, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The official start to fall is at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, also known as the autumnal equinox.
Joel Greenwell Jr., runs the family Knightongale Farm pumpkin patch that is weekends only and starts Saturday and ends on Halloween. The hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Greenwell said he and his family work full time on the farm and he doesn’t pay much attention to when the autumnal equinox is.
“I start the set up for fall festival one month prior and pumpkins go into the ground around Father’s Day,” Greenwell said. “We start picking now, all this week.”
Greenwell does follow the predications for the upcoming seasons and is hoping for a “cool” fall. The fall harvest is mostly corn and soy beans and the cooler weather is better for harvesting, he said. Greenwell isn’t expecting a lot of rain this fall.
“The cooler weather is easier on equipment and the growing times and germination of plants all depends on what the weather does and the rain,” Greenwell said. “The warm weather doesn’t feel like fall but the cooler weather does with that apple cider and people are ready to roll.”
Knightongale’s pumpkin patch will include a corn maze, hay rides, large barrel slides, moon bounces, petting animals, live music, face painting and more. Every weekend will have different activities for families to enjoy. They were closed last year during the pandemic and Greenwell is excited to have people back at the farm. The farm is located at 3924 Solomons Island Road in Harwood.
Greenwell said without doubt that fall is his favorite season and loves to see the leaves changing colors.
“The cooler weather gives you more energy in the morning and you know you won’t be sweat like a pig all day,” Greenwell said. “It does get darker earlier which makes it harder to harvest since dew sets in.”
During autumnal equinox, days become shorter than nights as the sun continues to rise later and nightfall arrives earlier.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s outlook for October predicts a 50-60% chance of an above-average rate of rain in Maryland during October.
The administration predicts that temperatures in Maryland and much of the Northeast from October through December are likely to lean 40 to 50% above average.
Robert Pumphrey, of Pumphrey Farm, said he pays attention to when the equinox is and it gives him an idea when to start picking pumpkins.
Pumphrey said he has been farming for 60 years and doesn’t believe in predictions for seasons. But, he is predicting a good fall that won’t be too cold.
“I start looking for the killing frost two weeks in October but last year it didn’t come until November,” he said. “You don’t want that frost to sneak up on you.”
Pumphrey Farm pumpkin patch starts the first weekend of October and will be weekends only. The farm is located at 8220 Veterans Highway in Millersville.
Pumphrey said fall is his favorite season and that it is more laid back than the others. Alongside the pumpkin patch, they will be having a vegetable stand.
“We live and love to sell pumpkins, it’s hard work but we got farming in our roots. We can’t quit,” Pumphrey said. “We got farming disease, that’s what we call it.”
Latest Anne Arundel County
Pumphrey might be a great farmer but he isn’t the best chef, he said he doesn’t know how to boil water, he joked. He thanked his wife for everything she does and all her pumpkin recipes.