When nearly nine inches of rain pounded the region in June, the fields at George Cassaday's farm in Monroeville flooded and the plants rotted.

Now, Cassaday has the opposite problem: The last four weeks have been too dry, meaning some of the sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and apples are growing to just half their normal size.

"It's almost like it's ironic to say, 'Well, we had a disaster in [June] because it's too wet,' now we have a disaster in September because it's too dry," said Cassaday, 48.

The problems with parched lands extend beyond farmers' fields. In the Pinelands, camp fires now must be two feet off the ground because of the dry conditions, and may be banned without more rain. The U.S. Drought Monitor has placed South Jersey in an "abnormally dry" zone, the lowest drought status, after less than an inch of rain fell in August. The month usually brings 3.5 inches.

The zone could expand into Southeastern Pennsylvania if the spell continues.

But New Jersey officials say that water restrictions are unlikely, and that thanks to the June soaking, water levels are not much lower than normal.

"In terms of a water supply situation, we're in decent shape," said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

For now, the most visible drought effects are on farms and lawns.

"For the most part, I think lawns have gone dormant" - brown - "unless you've been watering religiously for the past two months," Hajna said. Lawns do so to conserve their roots rather than focusing their energy on growing, he said.

On farms such as Cassaday's, conditions are more serious.

Cassaday is pumping water from six ponds and eight wells to hydrate his plants. One of the ponds "went from a pond to a puddle" in about a month, he said.

That means crops such as the pumpkins are growing smaller - healthy, but smaller.

"Instead of having this huge, giant pumpkin, it's going to be half the size" for trick-or-treaters, Cassaday said. "But they'll still have a pumpkin."

(Several hours after speaking about the drought Friday, Cassaday reported that his farm had received a brief downpour.)

Despite the dry conditions, the region has had more rain this year than normal. The official measuring station at Philadelphia International Airport has recorded 30.19 inches, 2.17 above normal.

More could be on the way. Late next week, the jet stream, which has recently sat in Canada and left the Northeastern United States dry, may dip down and bring rain and lower temperatures to the area, the National Weather Service said.