Southwest Michigan vegetable update – May 16, 2018
Rained has brought most field activities to a standstill.
It has rained every day for the past seven days for a total of 3 inches or more across the area. This is on top of 2 inches or more from the week before. High temperatures for the week ranged from 55 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 45 to 57 F. Soil temperatures are averaging near 60 F. The 50 F degree-day units remain behind 2017 and the five-year average at 214 for 2018, 341 for 2017 and 273 for the five-year average.
Rain has kept field activity to a minimum, even in well-drained sites. The 1.35-inches of rain on May 14 made activity impossible in almost all fields. Plastic laying, planting and pest control and other fieldwork is behind due to weather. Some hop growers are resorting to aerial applications for early season disease control. Most fields have sections under water. Some growers have removed their original plastic and applied it a second time due to wind damage.
Asparagus harvest has slowed due to weather conditions slowing growth, but also making harvest difficult due to wet soils.
Early planted sweet corn is 2 inches tall. Planting continues for later harvests.
Early pepper and tomato transplants have gone in and transplanting will resume once crews can get back into the fields.
Eggplant and Watermelon transplanting will begin next week.
Earliest peas are 6 inches.
Transplanted, tunneled cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini are on their third to fourth leaf. Early, direct seeded plantings are emerging.
Hops are 3 feet and need pruning and training up the strings, but this and other activities have been slowed due to wet conditions.
Early weather conditions may lead to later season disease issues, especially the water dependent, soil borne diseases. Assess field drainage issues and consider any necessary action to limit future flooding and ponding. Consider such activities as field leveling, sub-soiling and tiling.