Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – July 2, 2014

Warmer weather and favorable rainfall in the past week has vegetable crops growing rapidly in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified farm fields and hoop-houses.

Summer crops just about ready to harvest in area hoop-houses include bell peppers, green beans and cherry tomatoes.

Summer crops just about ready to harvest in area hoop-houses include bell peppers, green beans and cherry tomatoes.

Warmer weather and favorable rainfall in the past week has vegetable crops growing rapidly in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified farm fields and hoop-houses. High humidity, heat and frequent spans of leaf wetness have growers on the lookout for plant diseases, as these conditions are ideal for disease development.

Weather

According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a 54.3 degree Fahrenheit low to an 88.6 F high. We are at 1037 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days), which is the average for this time of year. The rainfall total for the year is 13.92 inches, and we received .64 inches of rainfall in several rain events, although the majority of that fell overnight this past Monday with the storms that came through.

Crop Reports

According to research done at the MSU Hoop-houses located at the Student Organic Farm and educator observations from the field, many crops are ready for early harvest due to season extension technology. Hot weather and regular rainfall in the past week has pushed rapid vegetable crop growth. Summer crops just about ready to harvest in area hoop-houses include bell peppers, green beans and cherry tomatoes. Growers are switching from planting activities to weed management and mulching at this time.

Pests seen this week in area hoop-houses and fields are fungus in salad purslane and zebra caterpillars (a minor pest of many vegetable crops) on snap peas. Growers are on the lookout for plant diseases, as the weather is conducive for development.

Zebra caterpillars on pea

Going to area markets now

According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, growers are harvesting peas, cucumbers, carrots, kale, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, beet greens, scallions, the last of the radishes, beets, kohlrabi, summer squash and zucchini this week out of area urban hoop-houses. Out of area fields - peas, onions, broccoli rabe, Napa cabbage, Bok Choy, collards, Swiss chard, herbs, green garlic, kale, lettuce, broccoli and cilantro is being harvested.

For helpful information on how to select, prepare, and preserve the state’s bounty of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits, 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. Meat, eggs and dairy fact sheets are under development, and we now have a newly published Great Lakes White Fish fact sheet. Information on many of the crops is available in Spanish and Arabic as well.

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