Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – June 22, 2016
Growers in urban and semi-rural farms, hoop houses and market gardens are continuing to plant successions of crops and searching for rain to fall in the Flint area.
According to the Michigan State University Flint Enviro-weather station, temperatures for the past week ranged from a low of 52.3 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 91.8 F. We are at 873 growing degree days (GDD) base 50, which continues to be several days ahead of the five-year averages. The Flint, Michigan, area has received 5.37 inches of rain since April, which is several inches below average at this point in the growing season. With the hot, dry weather of the past week, growers are continuing to irrigate their crops and urgently need rain for their non-irrigated field crops.
According to research done in the Michigan State University hoop houses located at the Student Organic Farm and MSU Extension educator observations from the field, early seeded warm and cool season crops are being harvested due to season extension technology at this time of year. In area hoop houses, tomato and cucumber pruning and tying/trellising continues, and growers are managing early sightings of cabbage loopers with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products. Cucumber beetles are active as well. Irrigated crops are growing well in the hoop house and the field, flowering and beginning to set fruit, depending on the vegetable.
Succession planting of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes, green beans, salad mix, snap peas, cilantro and dill continues for fresh market sales.
Going to area farmer’s markets now
According to a MSU Extension food systems educator, area growers are harvesting early crops and packing their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share distributions this week as well as for fresh market sales. The harvest includes green garlic, garlic scapes, salad mix, Swiss chard, snap peas, green beans, beets, scallions, kale, collards, broccoli, radishes and herbs (fennel, cilantro, dill). Next week, summer squash from the hoop house will be available.
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 MSU Extension’s Michigan Fresh program. The website includes fact sheets on over 50 crops, general food safety and fruit and vegetable gardening information, food preservation information, recipe cards, a seasonal harvest availability guide and a guide for donating fresh produce.