East Michigan vegetable regional report – May 11, 2016

Cool temperatures have kept many growers from planting sensitive plants.

Weather

Temperatures have been cooler than normal this past week, and we’ve received between 0.02 and 0.43 inch of rain across the region. Soil temperatures are hovering around 50 degrees Fahrenheit in most areas. A very light frost occurred on the muck in Imlay City, Michigan, on Monday morning, May 9. Our next potential freeze event is Saturday night into Sunday, May 14-15.

Cooler temperatures are on their way over the weekend, and any break in the cloud cover or breeze could allow the coldest air up high to settle down on crops.

The following table includes soil temperature ranges, rainfall (inches since April 1) and degree-day (base 50 F since March 1) accumulations to date from Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations in the region.

Rainfall, soil temperature and degree-day accumulations as of May 11, 2016

Location

Degree-days (+ added from last week)

5-year average

Rainfall (+ added from last week)

5-year average

Soil temperature range

Emmett

134 (+30)

172.3

3.09 (+0.04)

3.17

47-57

Fairgrove

144 (+33)

187.2

1.25 (+0.16)

4.12

48-56

Frankenmuth

146 (+33)

190.5

1.75 (+0.26)

4.52

47-60

Freeland

126 (+35)

182.1

2.15 (+0.43)

4.68

48-53

Lapeer

166 (+38)

206.2

2.52 (+0.12)

4.57

51-67

Linwood

93   (+28)

154.6

2.13 (+0.38)

6.47

49-52

Munger

119 (+32)

180.3

2.05 (+0.25)

4.23

49-61

Romeo

152 (+36)

182.5

2.50 (+0.05)

4.35

48-65

Sandusky

113 (+29)

157.7

1.50 (+0.02)

4.00

33-80

Crops

Cole crops have been going in since April 19. Some cabbage, Brussels sprouts and radishes have been seeded.

Sweet onions are being transplanted. Some growers have reported that the imported Texas onion sets seem larger than usual, and have experienced more transplant shock than the local plugs.

Sweet corn under plastic is 1–3 inches tall, and bare-ground corn is just poking up. Growers using plastic are planning to keep the seedlings covered through the weekend until more favorable temperatures come.

Greenhouse tomatoes are waist-height and setting fruit. Some growers using bag culture are experiencing some nutrient deficiencies. Magnesium deficiencies usually show up for everyone once fruiting starts, but bag culture can result in more micronutrient deficiencies, like manganese, zinc, copper, iron and boron. MSU Extension recommends a micronutrient package to get these plants what they need.

The first field tomatoes went in under plastic and fabric low tunnels last week. They are 4–6 inches tall, and could use some heat.

Melons went in under plastic low tunnels last week, and are on the schedule for some growers this week.

Potatoes are still going in when conditions allow.

MSU Extension fruit educator Bob Tritten is finding strawberries at 20 percent bloom in the south and early bloom at the ends of rows for most others. Flower trusses and new leaves continue emerging from the crown. Again this week most fields look completely different as a result of rapid leaf growth. Most strawberry growers have not needed to frost-protect in the last week. Dandelions have been a prominent winter annual weed in some plantings. Stinger or 2, 4-D is effective as a post-emergent on composite weeds like this during renovation. A heavy population may take two applications.

Special notes

Calm, sunny days over 70 F will elevate temperatures over 100 F under plastic tunnels. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants cannot handle these temperatures for more than a few hours, especially if buds and flowers are present. Vine crops will handle it, but it is still important to use vented plastic to reduce the shock of removing plastic tunnels all at one time. You can buy it this way, or vent it yourself. One grower drilled holes in the roll, but found the heat generated by the bit caused the layers to melt together and would rip the plastic when unrolling. Others slit along the top of the tunnels or stab holes with pitchforks. After three to four weeks, tunnels need to come off all together because plants will be too big, and vine crops will need pollination.

Please contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 616-901-7513 to grab any suspected disease samples from your farm, or send the diseased plant parts to MSU Diagnostic Services.

Related Articles