Central Michigan vegetable regional report – May 18, 2016

Improving yet cool weather keeps crop and planting progress at a moderate pace.

Emerging onion seedlings. Photo: Fred Springborn, MSU Extension.
Emerging onion seedlings. Photo: Fred Springborn, MSU Extension.


Air temperatures in Entrican, Michigan, ranged from the mid-40s to upper 60s for highs this week. Low temperatures ranged from the lower 30s to low 50s. Soil temperature remains cool for mid-May, with minimum temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit for much of the week on bare soil. Soil conditions remain variable with well-drained soils being worked and poorly drained, heavier soils still too wet for tillage. Rainfall totals were variable with 0.75 to over 1 inch received across much of the region.


Potato planting is well underway, but progressing at a slower pace than normal as soil conditions are less than optimal in many cases. Early planted potatoes are beginning to emerge.

Sweet corn planting continues. Emergence has been slow for the early plantings.

Asparagus harvest continues at a slow pace with many growers on their second or third picking.

Pea planting is ongoing for roadside markets. Early plantings are emerging. Processing peas planting began this week.

In market gardens, transplanting of cole crops continues. Onions, carrots, beets and many other early season crops are emerging.

Rye cover crops are growing rapidly, many with three nodes showing and a few fields are heading out. These covers need to be controlled very soon as control will become increasingly difficult.

Winter annual weed growth continues to be vigorous this spring. Many of these species are now producing seed. These weed stands should be controlled soon even if planting will not occur for a week or two as they can favor black cutworm egg deposition.

In the coming week, Michigan State University Extension suggests growers begin scouting sensitive plants for black cutworm damage. Even though flight has been low in central Michigan, it may be possible to find isolated locations with a few larvae in the next week to 10 days. 

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