Southwest Michigan vegetable regional report – May 28, 2014
Warmer conditions over the past week improved crop growth and appearance. Field activity has not been restricted by recent rains, but growers are still seven to 10 days behind in some activities.
According to the Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations, the area received between 0.5 and 1.5 inches of rain for the week. Temperatures were generally above normal with highs from 62 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 39 to 61 F. We are at 356 growing degree days (GDD) base 50, putting us 56 units behind 2013 and 14 ahead of 2011.
Asparagus harvest is 80 percent complete and will be 100 percent complete by the end of next week, except for a few direct marketers. Quality remains high.
The earliest planted peas are at early bloom.
Direct seeded cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini in low tunnels are close to flower and tunnels are being removed. Tunnel-grown transplants are in bloom. Direct seeded with no tunnels are on their third and fourth leaf. Watermelon and cantaloupe transplanting continues.
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 would expect yield on these fields to be somewhat 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 at the five or six leaf stage and looking much better due to increased temperatures. Further planting continues.
Early planted potatoes are at 4 inches.
Wild bee activity appears to be quite low. Even small acreage cucurbit growers will benefit from having hives brought in. Michigan State University Extension recommends not relying totally on wild bee populations for pollination since there are not enough of them this year.