Regional reports on Michigan vegetables – May 25, 2011
MSU Extension educators’ pest and vegetable updates for Michigan.
This week’s regional reports:
- Southwest Michigan – Ron Goldy
- East Michigan – Hannah Stevens
- Central Michigan – Fred Springborn
- West Central Michigan – Norm Myers
Temperatures averaged more normal for this time of year with highs ranging from 61 to 84oF and lows from 47 to 61oF. Soil temperatures have increased to the high 60s. Precipitation for the area was between 0.5 and 1 inch. We continue to be above normal in precipitation for the season.
Field work has increased as the weather permits. More transplants are being set out and more crops are being direct-seeded since soil temperatures have increased. Growers continue to struggle with transplants since many transplants are overdue for setting out to the field.
Asparagus harvest continues with approximately 50 percent complete. Purple spot and asparagus beetles continue to show up. Quality is generally quite good now that temperatures have increased.
Peas are 8 to 10 inches tall with no blooms at this time.
Potatoes are 8 to 10 inches tall and Colorado potato beetles adults were found last week.
Tomatoes grown in tunnels are blooming and tunnels should be opened to vent excess heat. Unprotected fields are being planted.
Sweet corn continues to be planted. Early fields are 6 to 8 inches tall and have better color in response to warmer temperatures.
Zucchini and yellow squash transplanting is mostly complete and growers are switching to direct seeding.
Watermelon and cantaloupe transplants are being set in the fields.
Direct seeding of fall squash in pumpkins will increase next week.
Rainfall continued throughout this region with amounts varying from 0.5 inch at the Lapeer station to nearly 2 inches in Macomb over five days. Growers were busy pumping the fields into drains which, thankfully, have receded to more normal levels as of yesterday. However, there is still water standing in low or poorly drained areas and very little soil is really ideal for working. Despite this, there is much cultivation and transplanting activity. Some replanting of a number of seeded crops is expected.
Tomato and melon transplanting on plastic was a common sight yesterday. Warm season crops under tunnels are benefitting from the additional warmth this year. On muck soils, onions and carrots have emerged and successive lettuce transplanting is ongoing.
Sweet corn is emerging and stands at 2 inches for the earliest fields, but conditions are not suitable for another planting which is overdue. Many flats of warm season crops remain to be planted as well as what seems to be an unusual number of cool season crops such as Swiss chard.
Farmer’s markets will have a limited supply of green onions, overwintered spinach, radishes, lettuce and rhubarb along with flats, baskets and containers of flowers and vegetables, which are popular this spring. Last weekend’s weather was a boon to local area greenhouses as shoppers turned out in droves for the first dry and warm weekend of the season.
Rainfall amounts were variable again this week as most areas received some rain on Monday (May 23). The weather station at the Montcalm Experiment farm recorded 0.40 inches while a grower in the Greenville area reported 0.80 and just over an inch. The Stanton area received 0.25 inches. Several days this week were dry enough to allow field work to continue.
Potato planting is near 75 percent completed with early planted fields emerging. Colorado potato beetle has begun to emerge.
Many small scale vegetable producers have begun transplanting pepper and tomato plants this week. Early planted sweet corn has emerged and color of the plants has improved with the warmer temperatures this week.
West Central Michigan.
Weather has been generally dry over the last week. There have been no delays in field activities such as planting and field preparation due to excess moisture. Temperatures have varied from above to below normal. In general, we have closed some of the heat deficit we built up earlier in May. Temperatures were generally in the lower 60s the last couple of days, so we may be going backwards again. In terms of moisture, we are now in deficit and if we do not get rain in the next few days, irrigation could begin in some crops.
Asparagus growers have struggled with a labor shortage this spring. Crews can generally handle the crop in cool weather like we are having now, but really struggle to keep up when temperatures are warm like they were this weekend. This has resulted in some mowing of fields when harvest crews get behind. Growers have only just finished planting new asparagus fields and most fields emerged very rapidly in the heat we had over the weekend. Harvest has finished in fields planted last year, herbicide has been applied and those fields are now developing fern. On the pest front, hot weather last weekend really flared common asparagus beetle activity.
Growers are evaluating early-planted carrot stands. Most on light soil appear to be in good shape, but stands on heavier soils are more marginal. Herbicide is still being applied where carrots haven’t emerged. Most growers have sprayed small grain cover crops with a grass killer to prevent competition now that danger of wind erosion is much reduced.
The first fields of winter squash for processing have been planted, but many growers are now delaying planting until after the cold snap so that they get better germination. We will also begin planting early processing zucchinisnap beans later in the week. and early