Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – June 4, 2014

Warmer conditions improved crop growth, but the area has only had about 2.5 inches of rain since May 1. Growers are seven days behind in some activities and staggering plantings more this year due to anticipated labor shortages at harvest.

Weather

According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations, the area received only 0.25 inches of rain for the week and only 2.5 inches since May 1. Temperatures were generally above normal with highs from 74 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 51 to 68 F. We are at 494 growing degree days (GDD) base 50, putting us 30 units behind 2013.

Field activities

Planting of most crops continues. Many growers feel they are about seven days behind normal. Weather conditions over the past weekend were hard on transplants due to limited soil moisture, bright sunshine, high temperatures and wind.

Crop reports

Asparagus harvest is 90 percent complete and will be 100 percent complete by the end of the week except for a few direct marketers.

The earliest planted peas have 2-inch pods.

Transplanted summer squash and zucchini in low tunnels are at early harvest. Tunnel-grown direct seeded plants are in bloom. Direct seeded with no tunnels are on their sixth leaf. Watermelon and cantaloupe transplanting continues and will be mostly complete by this week.

General transplanting of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant continues. Tomatoes under tunnels are at first flower and are being staked, pruned and tied. Early planted non-tunneled tomatoes are being staked. Some peppers have been planted that have flower buds. I expect yield on these fields to be reduced since these buds will either fall off due to transplant shock off or set fruit and stunt plant development. Either event will contribute to a loss in total yield

Sweet corn is about a foot tall and looking better due to increased temperatures. Row covers are being removed from fields planted under row covers. Further planting continues.

Early planted potatoes are 8-inches tall and approaching bloom.

For more information on commercial vegetable production, contact Michigan State University Extension’s Ron Goldy at 269-944-1477 ext. 207 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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