Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – July 30, 2014
Cool conditions continue to slow crop growth and development slowing harvest.
According to the Michigan State University Benton Harbor Enviro-weather station, the area received 0.27 inches of rain for the week. Temperatures were below normal with highs from 62 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 46 to 62 degrees F. We are at 1493 base 50 growing degree days (GDD) putting us 149 units behind 2013 and 229 behind the five-year average.
Vine crops. Cantaloupe is being harvested from tunnel-grown transplants. Virus symptoms are beginning to show up on yellow squash and zucchini. Transplanted fall squash is ready for harvest. Growers need to be cautious of downy and powdery mildew on cucurbits since conditions have been favorable for spread. Poor pollination has been reported from commercial growers and homeowners.
Tomato and pepper harvest began last week. Tomatoes are from tunnel-grown plants. Hornworm larvae are present in some plantings. Eggplant development is slow due to cool temperatures with plants having only 3 to 4 inch fruit. Verticillium symptoms can be seen in some eggplant fields. Drier weather has allowed for better bacterial disease control especially in tomatoes. Tomato growers can expect to have an increase in zippering and cat-facing since cool temperatures cause the petals to stay on the fruit longer which leads to these two conditions.
Growth and harvest on many crops continues to be slow due to cool temperatures. Water stress is evident in some fields.