Southwest Michigan vegetable update – June 28, 2017

Poor pollination is often seen in early cucurbits.

Weather

Temperatures were mostly below normal for the week with highs ranging from 70 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit, with only a 0.25-inch of rain. Soils continue to be dry, hindering germination on non-irrigated sites. Lack of rain also limits herbicide effectiveness.

Field activity

Transplanting is complete. Direct seeding continues for cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini and sweet corn.

Crop reports

Pea harvest continues.

Potatoes are at early bloom.

Earliest field-grown tomatoes have 2-inch fruit and earliest peppers have fruit 3 to 4 inches long. Greenhouse and high tunnel tomatoes are showing blossom blast due to high temperatures. Venting should be done to maintain temperatures below 90 F during the day and 75 F at night.

General harvest from cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini has begun. Many growers are experiencing poor early fruit set. This is not unusual since it takes the bees some time to find the field even if hives were brought in. This can be minimized by bringing hives in just as the field is coming into flower. If they are brought in too early, bees will forage other locations and it will take them awhile to change. This is especially true in cucumber fields since the cucumber flower is not a good source of nectar or pollen.

Some growers will send a crew through the field to pick off this poorly set fruit. Others will wait and remove it at the time of first harvest.

Hops are beginning to flower.

Sweet corn grown on plastic in low tunnels has the silk drying down.

Miscellaneous

No significant disease or insect problems have been observed or reported. However, due to the continued dry weather, Michigan State University Extension advises watching for increasing mite populations.

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