Central Michigan vegetable regional report – April 29, 2015

Improved weather over the last week allowed field work to get underway.

Weather

After another long winter, spring has finally arrived in Michigan’s central region. As of April 29, we remain approximately seven to 10 days behind normal in development of many perennial and biannual plants weeds and crops. Soil temperatures are still in the mid- to low 40s for lows.

Soil conditions are dry enough to allow tillage operation to get underway on the sandy soils of Montcalm and Mecosta counties, and the well-drained and tiled soils in Gratiot County. Many fields still contain numerous wet areas that will need some time to drain and dry out.

Crops

Potato planting has begun on a limited basis as soil temperatures remain very cool. No volunteer potatoes have emerged yet, but this will be something growers will need to be very conscious of this year due to the late blight outbreak in the 2014 growing season. One common way late blight survives from one season to the next is in volunteer potatoes that emerge from the previous season’s crop. Rock piles from last year’s potato crop and cull potato disposal areas will also need to be monitored closely this year for the emergence of volunteer potatoes.

In addition, it will be very important for growers to be sure the potato seed they are planting is disease-free and of high quality. Whether you are planting one acre or 1,000 acres, Michigan State University Extension recommends the use of the best professionally grown seed available to avoid disease issues in this year’s crop.

Many market gardens have been tilled and cool season crops including onions, potatoes and peas are being planted.

A few growers have planted their first planting of sweet corn this week in hopes of continued improved soil temperatures.

I have only observed an occasional asparagus spear emerging in the past few days. Most spears are still well below the soil surface. 

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