Flint, Mich., area urban agriculture report – September 6, 2013
Fall-like weather has arrived in the past week as the summer growing season nears its end.
Fall-like weather has arrived in the past week as the summer growing season nears its end. Fall and winter crop scheduling and planting in urban hoop-houses is in progress.
According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather station in Flint, Mich., temperatures for the past week ranged from a 49 degree low to a 89.6 degree high F with an average of 69.4 F, with fall-like weather in the past few days. We are at 2428 GDD base 50 (Growing Degree Days), which is slightly ahead of stations in the region (average 2262 GDD). The area received a trace of rainfall in the past week, so soils are dry without irrigation. Our rainfall total for the year is 24.79 inches – the average annual rainfall in the Flint area is 30.3 inches.
Fall crops are being planted in area urban hoop-houses (in August and September) for fall & winter harvest as summer crops are removed, according to research done at the MSU Hoophouses at the Student Organic Farm. Root crops include carrots, scallions, beets, radishes, turnips; head crops such as lettuces, Napa cabbage, Tatsoi; and leafy greens like chard, kale and baby leaf salad greens are planted to provide an optimum crop mix – spinach will be planted in later September as it performs well in cooler weather.
Outdoors in the field, the prevailing problems are flea beetles and powdery mildew on squash vine crops. Brassica family transplants and fall greens (lettuces, chard, kale, Pak Choy – Chinese cabbage) for fall cropping are being planted under low tunnels or row covers outdoors, to minimize flea beetle damage.
According to a Michigan State University Extension educator, abundant harvest out of area hoop-houses and fields continues, with over 50 different vegetable, fruit and herb items brought to the urban growers’ co-operative stall at the Flint Farmer’s Market on Saturday, August 31.