Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – May 18, 2016

Warmer, drier weather will be welcomed by growers.

Planting activity

Activity continues to be slow since we can’t seem to put together three or four nice days. Typically, we get one nice day followed by three or four cloudy, cool, rainy days. Field activity continues but plant growth is slow. Soil conditions the rest of the week may not be conducive for laying plastic on sandy sites. The soil will be quite dry and to re-wet sandy soil under plastic is difficult. The forecast for next week calls for rain, so Michigan State University Extension suggests it would be better if growers can wait until then to continue laying plastic.


Asparagus harvest continues at a slow pace. Some beetle activity is evident. Growers are complaining about brittle spears. When snapped, they will break below and above the harvester’s hand. This is due to the cool temperatures and will improve once it warms. Most asparagus fields have not experienced a freeze this year, so growers will probably have a full crop for the first time in many years.

Tomato transplants continue to be set out, but top growth is slow. Direct seeding of sweet corn, cucumbers and yellow squash/zucchini is also being done when conditions allow. Sweet corn has emerged but is quite yellow. This will change once the soils warm and nitrogen becomes more mobile.

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