West central Michigan vegetable regional report – April 27, 2016

Planting is ongoing for many early-season crops, west central asparagus harvest should start in the next one to two weeks.

Spear emergence in Oceana County research plots on April 21, 2016. Photo by Ben Werling, MSU Extension.

Spear emergence in Oceana County research plots on April 21, 2016. Photo by Ben Werling, MSU Extension.

Asparagus emergence was reported over the weekend and Monday, April 25, from scattered, sandy and hilly parts of some Mason and Oceana County fields where soils warmed quickly. Early variety spears were up at the Michigan Asparagus Research Farm near Hart, Michigan, last week and were visible in row centers in at least one area field last Thursday, April 21. Other growers reported they had not seen spear emergence yet on farm visits last Thursday and this Monday. Volume of asparagus available at farm stands increased over the weekend in southwest Michigan.

Crown digging finished April 15 at one Oceana County location and Oceana County planting was ongoing this week. Herbicide application was ongoing as of this weekend. Rye cover crop growth was rapid earlier this spring. Rye may take five days to die after glyphosate application given the cool temperatures predicted this week. Note that vetch seed can become mixed with rye cover seed. Michigan State University Extension advises checking your fields for this weed. Glyphosate is not effective at killing it, while 2,4-D has efficacy.

The National Weather Service outlook for May 4-10 calls for either normal or a 33-40 percent chance of above-normal temperatures for the potential start of harvest. The monthly outlook for May, released April 21, called for a 40-50 percent chance of above-normal temperatures.

Carrot planting on mineral soils started around the third full week of April in Oceana County and has progressed well. Nimitz nematicide is available via an emergency exemption for pre-plant application as an alternative to Vydate for Lapeer, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oceana counties.

Celery transplanting has been ongoing in Ottawa and Kent counties, with celery now being planted outside of frost covers. Barley and rye cover crops are good places to sweep for early detection of aster leafhoppers.

Cole crops including cabbage were being planted last week in Kent County.

Onion sowing had been ongoing in Kent and Ottawa counties as of last week.

Sweet corn planting started last week in some Kent County locations.

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