Central Michigan vegetable regional report – May 21, 2014

A brief window for planting progress was followed by more delays this week in Central Michigan.

Weather

Rain and cool temperatures slowed the drying out of soils throughout Central Michigan this week. By Monday, May 19, most producers on well-drained soils were able to begin planting again until more rain arrived Tuesday morning, May 20. Heavy rains early Wednesday morning, May 21, in Montcalm County and southern Gratiot County will now prevent most of those producers from getting back in the fields until later this week. Very little work has been accomplished on the heavy loam soils, especially those without improved drainage, as they have remained too wet to work since the very beginning of the season. At Entrican, Michigan, air temperatures have ranged from the mi- 40s to low 70s for highs with nighttime lows in the low 30s to low 40s for much of the week. Low soil temperatures are in the mid-40s at a 2-inch depth.

Crops

Potato planting made limited progress this week and has fallen further behind the normal pace and schedule. I have not observed any emergence of the crop or of volunteers.

Sweet corn planting is continuing as weather permits, but is off many growers intended schedule. Early field planted sweet corn is at V1. Many of the plants in these fields are yellow and showing signs of stress from the cool, wet conditions experienced. This is not a fertilizer nutrient deficiency in most cases, but rather the plants response to the cool, wet conditions.

Many market gardens are also falling further behind their intended planting schedule. Several small scale growers are now waiting to transplant vegetable crops such as tomatoes for soils to dry and rewarm. Direct seeding is also behind schedule for several with most of the progress being made on the sandy, well-drained soils. Flooding is becoming an issue for some market gardens located in low lying areas.

Asparagus harvest slowed this week as emergence and growth slowed in response to the low temperatures experienced.

Black cutworm moth capture is low this week at two per trap. This continues to be something to monitor given the large flight in states south of Michigan, most notably Indiana, and the large number of weedy fields present that would be attractive to egglaying. Michigan State University Extension reminds growers that black cutworm is a serious pest to many vegetable crops including sweet corn. Grower should begin scouting emerged crops for this and other early season pests.

Cereal rye cover crops will need to be controlled soon as many are reaching Feekes growth stage 7 and 8 (two to three nodes above ground) and will become increasingly difficult to control.

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