Flint, Michigan area urban agriculture report – May 20, 2015

Updates about urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens in the Flint area.

"One grower is delaying the planting of basil until this week’s current threat of frost has passed, another protected their seedling transplants in the hoop-house overnight with an additional frost cover."

Updates about urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoop-houses and market gardens in the Flint area, and a new list of resources available for urban agriculture through Michigan State University has been published.

Weather

According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Michigan, temperatures for the past week ranged from a 34.7 degrees Fahrenheit low to an 83.6 F high. We are at 349 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days); the recent warmth has our season a few days ahead of normal. The rainfall total for the year to date in Flint is 5.17 inches; we are still several inches behind in average rainfall at this point in our growing season.

Crop Reports

According to research done in the MSU Hoop-houses located at the Student Organic Farm and educator observations from the field, warm season crops are being planted and cool season crops are being harvested due to season extension technology at this time of year. 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. In area hoop-houses, planting of warm season crops including summer squash, bush beans, peppers and cucumbers continues. One grower is delaying the planting of basil until this week’s current threat of frost has passed, another protected their seedling transplants in the hoop-house overnight with an additional frost cover. At a third farm, the grower observed a singeing of the tender, newer foliage on some of the tomato transplants in the hoop-house in the past two days, likely due to the temperature extremes the Flint area has experienced, with the high heat of Monday followed by Tuesday night’s cold temps. Peas are and strawberries are flowering in hoop-houses. 

Flea beetles are still a problem in area hoop-houses, and at one farm, the first Colorado potato beetles have emerged outdoors in last year’s potato field. 

CPB Adult

In outdoor fields, growers are busy preparing planting beds by mowing down their winter cover crops and weeding and mulching in early planted beds. Cool season crops such as cauliflower, cabbage, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, Asian greens and radish are being planted this week.

Going to area Farmers Markets now

According to a Michigan State University Extension food systems educator, area growers are harvesting beet greens, radish and salad turnips from area hoop-houses this week.

A new compilation of the various resources available through Michigan State University for agriculture in urban settings was published on May 7, 2015 by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. Resources include season extension information, marketing guidance, legal counsel, product development, soil testing, zoning guidance, new funding opportunities, relevant webinars and networks and more.

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