Central Michigan vegetable update – May 15, 2019

Progress is slow due to continued cool wet weather.

Seed potatoes with sprouts.
Seed potatoes with sprouts. Photo by Fred Springborn, MSU Extension.


In much of the central Michigan region, soils remain wet. The well-drained sands have been suitable for tillage and planting, but the heavier soils remain too wet for much activity. The biggest weather story continues to be the slow warm up. Low air temperatures for the week have been in the 30s and low 40s. Soil temperatures remain quite cool with lows down in the 40s. These cool temperatures continue to slow crop emergence of what is planted and slow the drying of soils that remain wet.


Potato planting is progressing; however, it is a week to 10 days behind what many producers would consider the normal pace. Many of the soils that potatoes are grown on are well-drained and while conditions are not ideal, they are adequate. No emergence has been observed yet. As a reminder, Michigan State University Extension recommends all seed potatoes planted are free from seed borne disease and they should be from a certified seed source.

Sweet corn plantings continue. First plantings were made near the normal time; however, emergence has been slow and has caused many to slow their pace of planting due to fear of having too much of the early crop maturing at the same time. There are producers on heavier soils that have yet to begin planting this crop.

Asparagus harvest has begun with most picking their first. For many, the first picking was on the small side for this time of year.

Planting of processing peas has begun in the area.

In market gardens, many crops have been and are being planted where soil conditions permit, including peas, table beets, parsnips, onions and table stock potatoes. Transplants of various cole crops are also going out.


Various species of grubs will become active soon. Scouting for white grubs ahead of planting may prevent unexpected stand loss.

Monitoring traps for true armyworm and black cutworm should be in place. I have not yet captured significant numbers of either of these pests.

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