Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – August 13, 2014

Cucurbit downy mildew has been identified in southwest Michigan. Growers need to tighten their spray schedules and use the most effective products.

Weather

According to the Michigan State University Benton Harbor Enviro-weather station, the area received around 0.6 inches of rain for the week. Temperatures were near normal with highs from 67 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 55 to 65 F. We are at 1,756 base 50 growing degree days (GDD), putting us 133 units behind 2013 and 263 behind the five-year average. The rain was badly needed for non-irrigated crops. Lack of heat units is slowing growth and maturity for many crops.

Crop reports

In vine crops, downy mildew has been identified in southwest Michigan. Growers of cucumbers, pickles and cantaloupe need to decrease the number of days between fungicide applications and use the most effective products. See Michigan State University Extension specialist Mary Hausbeck’s spray recommendations for downy mildew for the latest recommendations. Cloudy, cool, windy weather will aid the spread of downy mildew. Virus symptoms continue to show up in some fields as the aphid vector population continues to increase.

Pumpkins are doing quite well, but growers need to pay particular attention to protecting leaves so fruit can continue to mature and don’t lose their leaf cover and get sunburned. Some early planted pumpkins are turning orange.

Fusarium has become a problem in some watermelon plantings. Look for areas of collapsing vines, gently dig up a plant, shake the soil off the roots, and in the dying sections of the root, look for areas with a reddish color. An accurate confirmation could be made by sending affected plants to MSU Diagnostic Services.

Eggplants are now being harvested.

For more information on commercial vegetable production, contact Ron Goldy at 269-944-1477 ext. 207 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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