Central Michigan vegetable update – April 24, 2019

Spring has been slow to arrive to the region.


Spring has been slow to arrive this year in the central Michigan region. Soil conditions are improving and tillage is occurring on well-drained soils with very limited activity on less well-drained soils. We had a brief snow event that gave much of the area a 3-inch-thick blanket of snow earlier this month. Air temperatures have been variable. Soil temperatures have recently increased into the 40s with highs hitting the 50s.


Primary vegetable production activity so far this spring has been tillage and field preparation.

A few potatoes have been planted, but these acres are very limited. There were a few abandoned acres last fall. Those fields should be monitored during the growing season of potential volunteer potato emergence. I have not checked all my sites that I dig in the spring to observe tuber survival, but the ones I have checked have had no intact tubers.

Planting of processing peas is scheduled to begin April 26 in this area. There have been a few peas planted in market gardens.

I have not yet observed asparagus emerging. With dormancy now broken on many perennial weeds, this is an opportune time to apply herbicides for perennial weed control.

Cover crops such as winter rye, wheat and barley have broken dormancy and are generally looking OK. Growth is behind normal in many of these plantings in that there are fewer tillers present, especially if the cover crop was established late fall, i.e., mid-October.


No major insect issues have been observed yet. It is time to get the true armyworm and black cutworm pheromone traps out. I have not observed any flight yet, but we could start to see some anytime.

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