Flint, Michigan Area Urban Agriculture Report – August 13, 2014
Heavy rains this week brought much needed precipitation to some growers in urban and semi-rural small-scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens.
Heavy rains this week brought much needed precipitation to some growers in urban and semi-rural small-scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens. For other growers, it was too much rain too fast and flooding occurred.
According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a 52.4 degree Fahrenheit low to an 86.8 F high. We are at 1813 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days), and our season remains behind normal for this time of year. Crops are a bit delayed in their development due to our cool summer. The rainfall total for the year is 22.24 inches – we had 3.12 inches of rainfall on Monday this week, which is equivalent to the average amount of rainfall for the entire month of August in the Flint area. Additional rain yesterday (.79 inches) exacerbated the flooding in some low lying fields and an area urban hoop-house. For growers who have had to irrigate in the past few weeks, this rainfall restored soil moisture levels and was appreciated, as rainfall totals varied depending on location.
According to research done at the MSU Hoop-houses located at the Student Organic Farm and educator observations from the field, many crops are being harvested due to season extension technology. Abundant harvest is taking place in farm fields at this time of year as well. In area hoop-houses, August is the month to plant cool-season crops for fall. Work continues on hoop-house beds being turned over for fall crops, reapplying amendments, compost, tilling and raking in preparation for fall seeding. Carrots and scallions are being planted now. Pulled onions from the field are curing in hoop-houses under shade cloth and growers are planting carrots, beets, lettuce and spinach outdoors as well. Powdery mildew and other fungal disease pressures are high in August, and growers need to be on the lookout for disease in vine crops, tomato and pepper plantings. Flea beetles have returned in some crops.
Going to area markets now
According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, area growers are harvesting cherry tomatoes and Heirloom tomatoes, carrots, summer squash, basil, peppers (green, cayenne, Thai) and kale from area hoop-houses.
From the field, cucumber, summer squash, kale, hot peppers (banana, jalapeño), cabbage, broccoli, garlic, beans, Swiss chard, collards, beets, peppers, tomatoes and herbs are being harvested. Sweet corn is being harvested in sequence due to successive plantings, with plants in various stages of development (tasseling; silking; ear formation and filling).
For helpful information on how to select, prepare and preserve Michigan’s bounty of fresh, locally-grown vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and now meats, eggs and fish, check out the MSU Extension Michigan Fresh program. Michigan Fresh has current fact sheets on over 40 produce crops, general food and ornamental gardening information, food preservation information, a seasonal harvest availability guide and a guide for donating fresh produce.