Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – April 24, 2015
The first report of the season for growers in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens.
The first report of the season for growers in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens comes on a day when our region experienced some unusually cold temperatures last night and this morning, yet the indoor growing season is underway in urban and rural hoop-houses .
According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a 24.3 degrees Fahrenheit low (this morning) to an 74.8 F high (last Friday). We are at 93 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days); it is very early in our growing season. The rainfall total for the year to date in Flint is 3.13 inches.
According to research done in the MSU Hoop-houses located at the Student Organic Farm and educator observations from the field, many crops are being planted and harvested due to season extension technology at this time of year. Resources available on the MSU Hoop-house website include general information, crop schedules, business planning information, transplant information and funding opportunities for hoop-house growers. In area hoop-houses, planting of warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers has begun, after hardening off the plants, and with this week’s cold temperatures, covering them at night with an interior blanket. Carrots are up and growing, and beet greens, arugula, radish and turnips have been previously planted.
One grower reports finding spinach leaf miner in certain beds in the hoop-house, these insects overwinter in the soil as pupae, hatching in the spring. The mining damage caused by the spinach leaf miner’s larval stage leaves infested spinach and chard leaves unmarketable.
Some outdoor fields are too wet to work yet, but area growers are planting beets, fennel, beet greens, Swiss chard (for salad mix), lettuce, and other cool season vegetables like spinach and peas in fields where the soil has been dry enough to prepare for planting.
Going to area year-round Farmers Markets now:
According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, area growers are harvesting lettuce, spinach (fall planted) mizuna, red Russian kale, vivid choy, radishes, baby kale, cress, claytonia, scallions, arugula, Swiss chard, cilantro, chive, and turnip greens from area hoop-houses. From the field, radishes, salad, spinach, mustard greens and cilantro are growing and will be harvested soon.
For helpful information on how to select, prepare, and safely preserve Michigan’s bounty of fresh, locally-grown vegetables, fruits, ornamentals, meats, eggs, nuts and fish, check out the Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh program, with current fact sheets on over 50 crops, general food and ornamental gardening information, food preservation information, recipe cards, a seasonal harvest availability guide and a guide for donating fresh produce.