Four Oaks Pumpkins

Patrick O'Malley, commercial horticulture field specialist


Four Oaks is a not-for-profit human service agency serving over 4500 children and families throughout the state. Four Oaks has residential treatment programs for children ages 5-18 who are referred from the Dept. of Human Services or the Juvenile Court System. These children have various mental & behavioral disorders that require intensive treatment.

Many of them are up for adoption because parental rights have been terminated. Four Oaks also has a foster care & adoption program that helps recruit families for adoption & give them support after a child is adopted. Four Oaks also has prevention programs that identify kids at risk of needing further help. They come to Four Oaks after school and in the summer for
tutoring, social skills, life skills, extracurricular activities, etc. Four Oaks wanted a fund raising event that encouraged character building, cooperation, entertainment, and a quality product.


ISU Extension through Commercial Horticulture Field Specialist, Patrick O’Malley, helped build a coalition to grow pumpkins among Four Oaks, Kirkwood Community College, commercial pumpkin grower, Duane Jordan, and Extension. Three acres of pumpkins were planted south of the Four Oaks facility in former unimproved pasture. A plan was drawn up to acquire high quality hybrid disease tolerant pumpkin varieties, soil test, add and incorporate amendments, prep soil for planting, planting, weed control, scouting, and harvesting.


Approximately 3000 twenty pound pumpkins were harvested. The youth involved with the project had a heightened level of self esteem and a sense of accomplishment. There was wide exposure for this first time two October weekend festival event at Four Oaks in newspaper, radio, and television.

The pumpkin production and festival were considered a huge success both in entertainment value and profit.


Page last updated: July 8, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,