Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – August 20, 2014
A return to drier conditions will help reduce disease spread but increase pressure on irrigation systems.
According to the Michigan State University Extension Benton Harbor Enviro-weather station, the area received 0.1 to 0.5 inches of rain for the week. Temperatures were near normal with highs from 67 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 43 to 66 degrees F. We are at 1872 base 50 growing degree days (GDD) putting us 116 units behind 2013 and 175 behind the five-year average. The rain was badly needed for non-irrigated crops. Lack of heat units continues to slow growth and maturity for many crops.
Since downy mildew has been identified in the area, growers of cucumbers, pickles and cantaloupe should decrease the number of days between fungicide applications, especially under rainy, windy conditions. They also need to use the most effective products. For the latest recommendations, see Spray Recommendations for Downy Mildew. Pumpkins continue to do well, but growers need to pay particular attention to protecting leaves so they don’t lose their leaf cover and get sunburned, and so fruit can continue to mature. Some early planted pumpkins are turning orange.
The insects of greatest concern are aphids. In some plantings the populations are so high that the plastic under the plants is sticky. This is especially true in pepper and cucumber plantings. Surprisingly, there has not been an increase in associated virus symptoms.