Southwest Michigan vegetable update – June 7, 2017

Irrigation pumps are running overtime.

Weather

Temperatures were near normal for the period with only a trace of rain. We remain behind 2016 and the five-year degree-day average, but that will change with the high temperatures forecast for the next seven to 10 days.

Field activity

Transplanting and direct seeding continues. The big story for the week is the need for irrigation. Demand for irrigation has increased as soil moisture reserves have dropped and little rainfall has occurred. Overhead irrigation is being applied on many fields that have center pivots.

Crop reports

Local asparagus harvest is over and growers are applying herbicides.

The earliest planted peas have 3-inch pods and are showing signs of initial swelling. Harvesting will begin next week.

Harvest will begin this week from transplanted, tunnel-grown zucchini and yellow squash. Cucumbers harvest will begin in the next two weeks.

Stakes continue to be set out in early-planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, and first ties are also being applied. Bacterial spot was confirmed on pepper transplants. Peppers have not grown well, presumably from the cool weather. This will change soon but, in the meantime, there are small pepper plants setting fruit.

This slow growth is a concern since the plant has not developed as it should and, with set fruit, it will not develop a large enough plant to continue to be economical through the season. Some growers who have the labor and time are sending crews through to pop off the small fruit and others are hoping it will fall off when the plant starts to grow. We will see who is correct.

Hops are climbing 10 feet up the strings.

Miscellaneous

Mite populations are increasing. This is early and if it continues to be dry they could become a significant concern for later in the season. Leafhoppers are also present and need to be monitored on sensitive crops such as beans, potatoes, celery, hops and others.

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