Flint, Michigan, area urban agriculture update – May 24, 2017
Updates about urban and semi-rural small scale diversified vegetable farm fields, hoophouses and market gardens in the Flint area. A new Flint Fresh Veggie Box program kicks off this week.
According to the Michigan State University Flint Enviro-weather station, temperatures for the past week ranged from a low of 44.2 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 85.9 F. We are at 368 growing degree-days (GDD) base 50; the recent moderate weather after last week’s heat has our growing season a day or two ahead of normal in terms of the five-year averages.
The Flint, Michigan, area received 0.57 inch of rain in the past week, allowing spring field preparation and planting operations to move forward full steam ahead. The irrigation need of newly planted crops has been higher due to the increased rate of evapotranspiration on recent high wind days.
According to research done in the MSU hoophouses at the Student Organic Farm and MSU Extension educator observations from the field, pruning and trellising of tomato crops in area hoophouses is taking place, along with thinning of earlier plantings of radishes and beets. Outdoor plantings of sweet corn and potato continues.
Plastic mulch has been laid and cole crop and other transplants are going in. Seeding of additional succession plantings of head lettuce and lettuce mix, cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, beets, green and wax beans, herbs such as dill and cilantro, and additional peas is taking place.
The three-lined potato beetle has appeared on tomatillo plantings this past week, and newly planted beds of outdoor field greens will be covered with row covers to protect them against flea beetle damage.
Going to area farmer’s markets now
According to a MSU Extension food systems educator, area growers are harvesting head lettuce, Bok Choy, kohlrabi, collards, scallions, kale and radishes from hoophouses. Herbs are being harvested indoors and out.
A new Flint Fresh Veggie Box program kicked off this week, providing a new avenue for Flint residents to access healthy fruits and vegetables and support local growers and Michigan farmers. This new program is structured as a subscriber-based produce delivery system that accepts credit cards and food assistance dollars.
The veggie boxes are available in two different sizes and prices, and those living or working in the City of Flint can have the box delivered to their door. Several pickup sites are available as well. For more information, please see Flint Fresh.