Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – July 13, 2016
A return to hot, dry conditions has led to more irrigation and harvest activity.
Conditions are very dry in many areas. Recent rains have been generally low and spotty. Combined with high temperatures and sandy soils, this has led to stress in many non-irrigated sites. Production on irrigated sites is going well.
Weather conditions have caused most zucchini and yellow squash producers to go on an everyday harvest schedule. Some early fields of these two crops are being abandoned. Abandoned cucurbit fields should be removed or treated with an herbicide so they do not become sources of inoculum for downy mildew. Michigan State University Extension advises growers to scout fields closely for downy mildew since it has been reported in Michigan. None has been reported in the immediate area at this time. However, spores have been caught in the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center spore trap. Some growers are experiencing poor pollination symptoms (poorly shaped, crooked fruit). This is due to not enough bee activity either from not enough hives or poor weather during bloom.
Watermelon and cantaloupe continue to flower and set fruit. Squash and pumpkins will continue to need protection from squash vine borer.
Early sweet corn harvest should begin soon.
Peppers and eggplant are setting and sizing fruit well, but general harvest is still about two weeks or more away. Aphids and tarnished plant bug populations are increasing, especially in peppers.
Harvest from early planted, protected tomatoes will begin shortly.