Southeast Michigan vegetable regional report – May 21, 2014

Growers are catching up with field operations and planting. Cole crop pest activity continues to increase, so now is the time to scout cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – young plantings are more at risk.

Early broccoli curd. Photo credit: Lina Rodriguez Salamanca, MSU Extension

Early broccoli curd. Photo credit: Lina Rodriguez Salamanca, MSU Extension


In the past week, rainfall recorded in Southeast Michigan averaged 0.86 inches. Moisture in the field delayed some transplanting last week, but dry days allowed for field operations to resume. Air temperatures in the Southeast have ranged from 34 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit with an average of 53 F.

Based on the average of the southeast Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations, we currently have reached 240 growing degree days (GDD) base 50 F (GDD50), which is behind 120 GDDs for the last five-year average.

Regional rainfall summary for the Southeast Michigan, according to MSU Enviro-weather

Enviro-weather station








Commerce Township












Average for region




Weather outlook

Air temperatures are expected to warm-up some over the weekend. Temperatures are forecasted to range from 48 to 79 F for the next week, with the potential for drier conditions in the next four days.

Vegetable crops

Cole crop (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflowers, turnips, kale and radishes) planting has been completed. Cabbage plantings range from five to eight leaves. Plants continue to recover from the previous hail damage, but edema symptoms were observed in most plantings. Early planted broccoli has started to form curds, most likely due to weather stress, and ultimately may impact the yields.

Flea beetles continue to be active, especially in small operations or fields that were planted to cole crops last year. No cabbage maggot damage has been observed. Diamondback moth and imported cabbageworm moths were observed in several cabbage and broccoli fields in low numbers. No eggs were observed, but scouting should continue in the following two weeks to detect caterpillars. Inspect whole plant samplings in an “X” or “W” transect throughout the field. Insecticide application is not recommend at this time. Determine when an insecticide treatment is needed using thresholds by crop and stage. For additional information, read “Cole crop insect management” from Michigan State University Extension.

Flea beetle

Flea beetle in cabbage foliage. Photo credit: Lina Rodriguez Salamanca, MSU Extension

Sweet corn plants are 2-5 inches tall with the larger ones under row covers. No seed corn maggot damage has been observed in the area. Snap beans, green beans and peas are 2 and 4 inches tall and continue to grow. Carrots, cucumber, squash and watermelon planting is ongoing.

Potato planting continues while tomato and pepper transplanting has started; first plantings of the year were completed early this week and planting will continue. Tomatoes in high tunnels continue to grow and early planted ones are flowering and bearing half-inch fruit.

For more information on commercial vegetable production, contact Lina Rodriguez Salamanca at 517 264 5310 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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