Iowa corn and soybean farmers aren’t the only ones hoping for good weather this harvest. Local pumpkin patches also depend on picture-perfect fall days to bring in visitors before their season ends.

And just like crop farmers who can’t waste time on a combine breakdown, pumpkin growers need to keep their wagons and playground equipment in working order too, explained Bill Owen, with Uncle Bill’s Farm and Carroll’s Pumpkin Farm in Grinnell.

"No matter how sure you are that everything is ready to go, the first kid who walks on the farm proves you wrong," said Owen with a laugh. "You can’t afford to have things break down when you only have a six-week season. Come Nov. 1, nobody wants to buy a pumpkin."

Running a successful pumpkin patch is more than just planting pumpkins and watching them grow, Owen said. It’s about creating an experience. Today’s...