Pumpkin patches are part of the annual fall tradition, but this has been a year unlike any operators can recall.
Tim Vala, who owns Vala's Pumpkin Patch in Gretna with his wife, said, "I don't remember any year where we've gone without rain for so long."
His farm turned to costly irrigation, beginning the first week of July, to ensure they'd have pumpkins by fall, and enough business to sustain them for the rest of the year.
Central lines, big blue hoses, were placed strategically throughout the 55 acres of pumpkin seedlings and drip strips, feeding off the hoses, spanned every nine feet. Water pumped 24-7 during the growing season, costing thousands of dollars.
But it's all been worthwhile, said Vala. "It's come in well," he said, "And actually, with the lack of rain, we haven't had disease problems."
Ed Schaefer, who owns Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Patch in Papillion, with his wife, agreed - disease has not been an issue this year. "There's been less rot," he said, "But there are less pumpkins."
He's made adjustments to ensure they've got enough pumpkins to meet his customers' needs, including hauling in some stock from his brother's farm and, of course, adding irrigation as well. "Costly and time consuming," he said.
His farm grows a number of other crops, including asparagus and raspberries, to name a couple. With that and the rental business they also run, for weddings and parties, they stay busy year-round. However, the fall season - which officially kicked off with their pumpkin patch opening Sunday - is a good chunk of their business.
That lack of rain which was a detriment could actually help operators if it continues. "Now we don't need it. We just need it to stay like this. This is great," Schaefer said. He's hoping the added costs are at least partially offset by increased crowds.