Barten Pumpkins: Harvest plentiful despite setbacks from drought

Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 3:33 PM CDT
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NEW PRAGUE, Minn. (KEYC) - Barten Pumpkins planted seeds in early June, but this year’s drought conditions made it difficult for them to grow at first.

“Those seeds sat in the ground for about three and a half weeks to a month. Normally, the pumpkins germinate within three [or] four days to anywhere like ten days,” explained Joe Barten.

Barten said the delay made him uncertain about this year’s harvest. He added, “In late June, we were basically thinking to ourselves [that] we’re not gonna have a crop this year.”

Luckily, a few spotty rainfalls were enough to kickstart growth. “It was probably not until the very end of June, early July that we got a rainfall. About 85% of the crop then did come up,” stated Barten.

Despite their resiliency to dry weather, pumpkins need enough moisture to stay nourished as they develop. “Those few rains that we did get in July and August were enough to sustain us,” Barten mentioned.

Barten said this season’s yield ended up being plentiful, but pumpkin pickers may notice a slight difference in size. “The pumpkins might be a little bit on the smaller side, [but] not too much,” he stated.

The farm has been growing pumpkins, squash and gourds for about 50 years. Minnesota’s unpredictable weather is just another part of the job, according to Barten. He explained, “You really just have to have a little bit of thick skin and understand that there’s gonna be good years, there’s gonna be bad years.”

Despite the challenges, Barten said drought conditions won’t affect fun on the farm. “We have kids games, a pumpkin walk, a nature play area, a little log cabin for kids to play with. There’s really cute picture areas for kids and families to take advantage of along with thousands of pumpkins, squash and gourds,” he mentioned.

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