Central Michigan vegetable regional report – May 13, 2015

Planting has been delayed in much of the central region this week due to rain and wet soils.


Cool temperatures persisted this week with the exception of Thursday, May 7, when temperatures reached the mid-80s. For the rest of the week, May 6-13, forecasted high air temperatures ranged from 58 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. We remain behind normal in plant development by approximately seven to 10 days, however we can catch up rather quickly this early in the season. We continue to warn growers and crop advisors not to take for granted that everything is behind normal this year.

Dry soils, and especially those with high organic matter content, warm quickly and some plants and pest are developing at a faster rate than some might expect due to these subtle yet significant changes in microclimates. Low soil temperatures are solidly in the low to upper 50s this week at Entrican, Ithaca and Mecosta, Michigan.

Rainfall totals for the week are variable with over 3 inches near Mecosta, Michigan, and in parts of Montcalm County, 1.5 inches at the Entrican Enviro-weather station and 0.5 inches in parts of Gratiot County. Soil conditions are variable with many soils too wet to work, while a few high sands and areas that did not receive heavy rainfall have relatively dry soils that will allow field work to resume within a day or two. There are still several poorly drained sites and soils that are very wet and will need a significant time to drain and dry out.


Potato planting is progressing as rainfall and soil conditions will allow. Early planted potatoes are emerging. Volunteer potatoes will begin emerging and this will be something growers will need to be very conscious of this year due to the late blight outbreak in the 2014 growing season.

Table beets, potatoes and peas are emerging in many market gardens this week. Most growers are holding off for another week to transplant frost-sensitive transplants such as tomatoes and peppers where they cannot be protected by row covers.

Nearly all growers have planted at least the first planting of sweet corn and many their second plantings. Emergence is slow due to relatively cool soil temperatures, however a few early plantings are now spiking through.

Asparagus spears are emerging. Most growers have now made their first harvest.

Cereal rye cover crops need immediate attention if they have not already been killed. Most have two to three nodes above ground (12-24 inches or more in height). Michigan State University Extension recommends controlling rye cover crops in the early stages of growth before it becomes difficult to kill.


No significant numbers of true armyworm or black cutworm moths were captured this week, though I suspect moths have reached Michigan on recent storm systems. Scouting for larval feeding remains the tried and true method for monitoring this pest. Decisions on insecticide treatment should be based on scouting for larva, not adult trap catches. Adult trap catches help time scouting efforts, but do not replace the need for in-field scouting.

Proper pest identification is also an important part of pest scouting.

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