Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – June 18, 2014
Hot, dry and windy weather and lack of rain has field crop growers in urban and semi-rural small scale farms irrigating.
This past week’s hot, dry and windy weather and lack of rain has growers irrigating, so today’s rain is quite welcome for field crops growing in urban and semi-rural small scale diversified farm fields. Numerous crops harvested from urban and rural hoop-houses and fields are going to area farmer’s markets.
According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a low of 43.8 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, June 15, to a high of 89.3 F on Monday, June 16. We are at 739 GDD base 50 (growing degree days), which is considered normal for this time of year. The rainfall total for the year is 11.9 inches, and we received 0.56 inches of rainfall a week ago today, June 18. Dry, hot and windy days in the past week have increased the need for irrigation and desire for rainfall as soils are quite dry in the area. Today’s rainfall will be appreciated!
According to research done at the MSU Hoop-houses at the Student Organic Farm and educator observations from the field, summer crops continue to be planted, both transplants and direct seeded, in the field, including pumpkins, cut flowers, sweet and Indian corn, and melons. Succession plantings of summer squash, beans, corn and cucumbers are also being planted. Tomatoes, cucumbers and melons are being tied up in area hoop-houses, and trellising for cucumbers and melons is being installed in small scale fields.
Pests seen this week in area hoop-houses and fields are flea beetles, cabbage loopers, Colorado potato beetle larvae, and another leaf beetle larvae, possibly the three-lined potato beetle, on tomatillos. The larvae hatch in summer and look slug-like slugs with legs and black heads. They tend to stay in clusters as they feed. They cover themselves with their own excrement, likely as a defense mechanism, and can cause severe injury on tomatillos.
Going to market now
According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, growers are harvesting salad mixes, kale, carrots, beets, snap peas, dandelion greens, scallions, radishes and basil this week out of area urban hoop-houses and low tunnels. Herbs harvested from the field include garlic chives, lemon balm, cilantro, thyme and tarragon. Large leaf kale, green garlic, green onions and salad mix are also being harvested from the field.
In Flint, Michigan, the grand opening of the new Flint Farmer’s Market takes place this Saturday, June 21. The location is a few blocks south of the current location, allowing the market to undergo significant updates and expansion, and marks its return to the downtown Flint area after more than 70 years. Many residents are anticipating the opening with interest and excitement.