IRETON—Diane Ten Napel loves every bit of her old-fashioned pumpkin patch even after 15 years owning Diane’s Pumpkin Patch.
“We’re not the frill and the fancy and we never will be,” Ten Napel said. “We want an old-fashioned pumpkin patch. We don’t need to entertain with all kinds of bouncy houses; come out and get a pumpkin. That’s my kind of pumpkin patch and we have had several people come and say this was what they were looking for, an old-fashioned pumpkin patch.”
Alongside pumpkins, Diane’s Pumpkin Patch at 22324 C-12 about eight miles southwest of Ireton has tractor rides out to the field, a petting zoo and the opportunity to paint a pumpkin all free of charge.
The patch opened just after T and S Nursery closed its pumpkin patch portion, where Ten Napel worked for 13 years.
“I did all the seeding of all the plants,” Ten Napel said, of her former job. “We grew the patch from T and S Nursery much bigger. We have the perfect place for it. So, I’ve done this 13 years there and 15 years here.”
Getting the patch ready for its open season, which is the last Saturday in September until Halloween, starts before Labor Day.
Decorating and putting a variety of displays together for photo opportunities is something Ten Napel loves to do with the help of her family, especially her husband.
“We have been partners for fifty years,” Ten Napel said of her husband. “He enjoys helping and it is hard to find a patch like ours. We are partners in everything we do, we enjoy working together.”
Ten Napel enjoys seeing people come year after year and grateful for the friends some of those visitors have become.
“This year, I had a mom call,” Ten Napel said. “Her daughter was home from college and just had to come to the patch before she left.”
Last year, Ten Napel began to hold crafting classes at the patch, which Ten Napel hopes to grow also.
The Ten Napels try to be welcoming. The couple have never had an employee who wasn’t family in their 15 year.
“Since we are all family that work here, that shows,” Ten Napel said. “The kids have always been here to help us. For fifteen years, they have given up their October.”
Caring for the patch isn’t seen as a challenge but “wonderful,” to Ten Napel despite heavy rains this year.
“The rain has been very hard on the pumpkins,” Ten Napel said. “It is very hard for them to lay on the wet ground. We have a lot of pumpkins to choose from still.”