Southwest Michigan vegetable update – May 10, 2017

Yellow corn and purpling in asparagus are due to cool temperatures.


Temperatures over the week were cooler than normal with damaging frost on May 8, but some sites may have experienced damage on May 7 and May 9. Temperatures were generally in the low 30 degrees Fahrenheit range, but some areas got as low as 27 F on May 7.

Field activity

Producers continue working fields and laying plastic with no interruption since the week was generally dry. Some planting occurred over the past week, but most growers held off due to threat of frost. Planting will pick up greatly over the next week given the favorable forecast, and transplant producers are wanting early plants out of their greenhouse.

Crop reports

Sweet corn plantings were damaged in the freeze, but they should recover if the growing point was not damaged. Usually at the temperatures we experienced, the leaves will be damaged but the growing point is still protected since it is still down inside the plant and protected by enough tissue. The growing point is also protected in newly emerged plants since it is still below the soil line. Plants are yellow due to the cold temperatures not allowing the plant to pick up nitrogen. They will green up as soon as warmer temperatures return.

Asparagus harvest continues at a slow pace. Some sites experienced damage on May 8. All plantings are taking on a purple cast due to the cold temperatures. The purple pigment becomes more prominent at cooler temperatures. Growers are on about their 12th harvest.

Peas are 5 inches tall. Bloom is still a ways off.

Some cucumber, yellow squash and zucchini transplants have been set out under low tunnels, but did not have any damage from the freeze. They have not grown much due to cloudy weather and cool temperatures. Direct seeding should proceed over the next seven to 10 days.

Growers have delayed transplanting tomatoes and peppers, but early fields will be going in over the next seven to 10 days now that the forecast is more favorable.

Transplanted onions are at various stages based on planting date. The earliest are on their fourth to sixth leaf.

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