Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – July 9, 2014
This is usually the time of year we want rain, but many sites have had 3 or more inches already in July on top of the six or more inches in June.
According to the Michigan State University’s Benton Harbor Enviro-weather station, the area received 1.01 inches of rain for the week. Temperatures were near normal with highs from 69 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 51 to 66 degrees F. We are at 1149 base 50 growing degree days (GDD) putting us 34 units behind 2013.
Field activities continue to be slowed due to rains on June 30 and July 1 and then added to by rains this week. Many fields have standing water over the rows. Significant soil erosion has occurred in some fields causing washouts and covering plants. Some hail damage was reported from the storms on June 30 and July 1.
Early planted summer squash, zucchini and cucumber fields are being removed. Watermelon and cantaloupe fruit is sizing well. Pumpkins are at early bloom. With the continued wet weather, growers need to protect these crops against powdery mildew.
Peppers and eggplant continue to flower and set fruit. Early planted, tunnel-grown tomatoes are close to harvest. Staking and tying continues in tomatoes with some fields on their third and fourth string. Bacterial spot and speck have increased on tomatoes, especially those grown under tunnels.
Sweet corn grown under row covers should be close to harvest. Early, uncovered plantings are silking.
Early applied herbicides in some fields have reached the end of their effectiveness and weeds are beginning to come back. An increase in leafhopper and Japanese beetle activity has been observed.