Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – August 20, 2014

Plant disease pressures remain high for growers in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens. Harvest of many vegetable crops is well underway.

Plant disease pressures remain high for growers in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens. Harvest of many vegetable crops is well underway.

Weather

According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a 46.7 degrees Fahrenheit low to an 82.3 F high. We are at 1933 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days), and our growing season remains several days behind normal for this time of year. The rainfall total for the year is 22.87 inches, and we had .63 inches of rainfall this week (coupled with last week’s heavy rainfall), so soil moisture supplies remain adequate.

Crop reports

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 harvested due to season extension technology, and August is the month to plant cool season crops for fall. 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.

Beets and kohlrabi are being planted this week in area hoop-houses. Growers are planting daikon radish, lettuce, Tatsoi and arugula outdoors as well. Powdery mildew on vine crops, downy mildew on cucumbers and melons, and late blight on tomatoes and potatoes are big concerns now, as this season’s weather has been very conducive to plant diseases. Late blight on tomatoes has been detected (not yet confirmed) this week in an area home garden and on a farm, and all growers need to be on the lookout for this disease. For excellent information on tomato late blight in Michigan, including spray recommendations, fungicide trials, photos, the Michigan risk monitoring map and the national website USA blight, please visit http://www.veggies.msu.edu.

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Late blight on tomatoes has been detected (not yet confirmed) this week in an area home garden and on a farm, and all growers need to be on the lookout for this disease.

Going to area markets now

According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, area growers are harvesting cherry tomatoes and Heirloom tomatoes, ground cherries, tomatillos, kohlrabi, cucumbers, summer squash, tetragonia (New Zealand spinach) and herbs from area hoop-houses. From the field, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, cilantro, summer squash, eggplant, peppers, cabbage, green tomatoes, baby carrots and parsnips that have been thinned are being harvested.

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, with 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.

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