Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report - May 14, 2014
Warm weather has arrived along with abundant rainfall in the past week that has delayed some planting in the field.
Warm weather has arrived along with abundant rainfall in the past week that has delayed some planting in the field. Summer crops are underway in urban and rural hoop-houses. Crop harvest from the winter planted cool season crops in area hoop-houses continues.
According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a 41 degrees Fahrenheit low to an 85 F high. We are at 227 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days), which is still behind last year’s reading, but this past week’s warm weather has allowed our season to catch up quite a bit. Our rainfall total for the year is 8 inches, and we have received 2.84 inches of that rainfall in this past week alone.
According to research done at the MSU Hoop-houses at the Student Organic Farm, summer crops should now be planted in area hoop-houses, and the remaining cool season crops should be harvested. In the past few weeks, growers have planted peppers, basil, summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes in their hoop-houses, which are all growing well along with some left over spring greens. Growers are keeping hoop-houses as open as possible to allow for maximum airflow during this warm, wet weather. They have been harvesting greens in alternating rows in order to allow for as much airflow as possible. In some wet beds, earlier bolting (than expected) on greens has occurred.
In the field, onions, leeks, carrots, salad greens, kale, chard, collards, broccoli, kohlrabi and some early tomatoes have been planted. The garlic crop looks great for this time of year. However, rain has delayed outdoor planting. Growers have been broad-forking beds to be able to plant outdoors. In the low tunnels they have immature salad greens, spinach, beets, carrots, radishes and more salad turnips.
With the warm temperatures, pests are appearing. Flea beetles are on cruciferous crops inside the hoop-house and out in the field, cabbage worms are making an appearance on hoop-house kale.
Going to market now
According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, growers are harvesting spinach, salad mix, Asian greens, scallions, mustards, Bok Choy, carrots, salad turnips and French breakfast radishes this week out of area urban hoop-houses and low tunnels.