Regional report on east Michigan vegetables - September 14, 2011

Pest and vegetable updates for east Michigan (Lapeer, Macomb, and St. Clair counties).

Field conditions

While rainfall amounts have varied a great deal, the last week brought frequent showers, in some cases heavy, to the region. Amounts varied from 0.7 to 1.25 inches. Coupled with cooler temperatures, some fields have been wet enough to complicate harvest operations. Most vegetable growers are hoping for a late frost.

Crop conditions

Excellent quality sweet corn is being shipped. Worm pressure varies, but growers report few problems with infested ears, particularly in Bt cultivars. The best snap beans of the season are being harvested now.

Cauliflower and broccoli are of similar good quality, although worm pressure is high. Supplies of local melons have declined and this may be due in part to the appearance of Phytopthora fruit rot that appeared in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, this is also affecting gourds and peppers and possibly other susceptible species. Raised beds and other cultural practices may be delaying the appearance of this destructive disease, but is not eliminating it.

Tomatoes are ripening faster than they can be picked and while vines remain healthy, growth cracks and other physiological problems are resulting in cull fruit in some varieties. Nevertheless, the quality and quantity of the marketable crop is excellent and there are many bushels of “canners” for sale. We have fortunately had beautiful weekend weather, which brings out customers for farm stands and markets and farmer’s markets.

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