Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – July 22, 2015
There is sunshine at last in the southwest region and a downy mildew alert in Berrien County.
Weather patterns over the past week finally brought some heat, and this week has brought sunshine. Unfortunately, we had a significant storm front move through July 18, which produced heavy rain in a short period, contributing to field and road flooding and soil movement. The front also had damaging hail in some areas. Standing water is still evident in many fields.
Temperatures ranged from 75 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit – our first temperature above 90 – and lows from 57 to 68 F. The area again received 2 to over 3 inches of rain. We are near 1,440 base 50 growing degree days (GDD) compared to 1,370 for 2014, so we took a significant jump in GDD due to the warm temperatures over the weekend.
DOWNY MILDEW ALERT! Michigan State University Extension has reported downy mildew in Berrien County. Cucumber, cantaloupe and watermelon growers need to shorten application times and apply the most effective products. Refer to “Downy mildew on cucumbers detected in key areas of Michigan” for the recommended protection program. Unfortunately, there is no effective control for organic producers. Current dry, sunny conditions will slow spore dispersal, but protection is still needed. To prevent disease spread, susceptible plantings should be removed as soon as harvest is complete.
Sweet corn, pepper and eggplant harvest has begun. Volume of each will increase next week. Grape and Roma tomato harvest will begin by the weekend and fresh market tomato and cantaloupe harvest will start next week.
Watermelon and pumpkins continue to bloom and are setting fruit nicely.
Some blossom end rot is showing up on peppers and tomatoes, but that is not unusual for early fruit.
Early squash and cucumber fields are being removed.
We still have not seen much activity from European corn borers, corn earworms, squash vine borers or squash bugs.