East Michigan vegetable update – July 25, 2018

Bay area growers received some long awaited rain. Crops are ripening faster than previous years.


Most regions received at least a quarter of an inch over the last two weeks, and some places had 2 inches. The most substantial rainfall came July 13, 16, 21-22 and 24. It was a needed break from the hot and dry trend.

Click the links from Michigan State University Enviroweather below to view maximum and minimum air temperatures, as well as degree-day and rainfall accumulations from Jan. 1 through the last 14 days.


All heading brassicas are nearing their final planting or are finished for fall harvested crops.

Pumpkins and winter squash are setting fruit and sizing quickly. Powdery mildew is just starting to show up, and some fields are looking a little baked from the weeks of hot, dry weather.

Cantaloupe and watermelon are hitting stands in force. Quality is very good, but fruit size is smaller on unirrigated ground.

Pickling cucumber plantings are finishing up and harvests are rolling. Crops are sizing up fast from heat and recent rain can push crops into relish territory fast.

Downy mildew has been confirmed in Berrien County. Preventative fungicides should used in the Bay and Thumb area.

My variety trial is showing a high occurrence of carpel separation across 27 seedless varieties, which is where three holes show up along the seed cavity when you cut the cucumber in half the short way. This is typically more prevalent in dry years, and this year is no exception.

Late blight in potatoes and tomatoes has not yet been detected in Michigan. Some table stock potatoes are going to market.

Tomatoes are just beginning to come out of fields. This recent rain and rapid growth from the warm weather could cause some splits.

Pepper harvest has begun. If you are a commercial pepper grower who regularly uses copper and are detecting leaf spot, please let us know (email me at phill406@msu.edu). The MSU Vegetable Pathology Lab is testing isolates for copper sensitivity.

Sweet corn is being picked in high volume. Quality is very good and corn earworm pressure has been very low. My trap in Lapeer County caught two corn earworm moths in two weeks. However, western bean cutworm is going through peak flight, and I caught 32 of them in the same time two-week period. Scout for western bean cutworm eggs and treat if you find one egg mass per 100 pre-tasseled plants.


The Organic Management Field Day is Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the MSU Kellogg Biological Station, 9701 N 40th St, Hickory Corners, MI 49060. Lunch is included.

The Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day is Sept. 26, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at PrairiErth Farm, 2073 2000 Ave, Atlanta, IL 61723. See in-row cultivation tools demonstrated on vegetable crops, with a trade show and grower experiences with mechanical cultivation. Event registration is $20 (lunch included). Check it out on Facebook.

Need your water tested for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? Check out the Michigan Ag Water Lab Map.

Please contact me at phill406@msu.edu or 616-901-7513 with questions, concerns or to schedule a farm visit. You can also send plant materials to MSU Diagnostic Services.

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