East Michigan vegetable regional report — May 2, 2018

Warmer nights and dry conditions have permitted lots of fieldwork to take place.

Bring your transplants inside when nighttime temperatures are predicted around freezing. These brassicas were nipped, but their growing points are still healthy. Photo: Ben Phillips, MSUE.
Bring your transplants inside when nighttime temperatures are predicted around freezing. These brassicas were nipped, but their growing points are still healthy. Photo: Ben Phillips, MSUE.

Weather

Soils are warming and drying rapidly, and nights are warming up. Some growers are leaving the low tunnels in the barn this season. However, degree day accumulations are still behind normal.

Up to 1.5 inches of rain is expected this week, and the winds should die down after the weather.

Here are degree day (base 50 F since March 1) and rainfall (inches since April 1) accumulations to date, and soil maximum temperature ranges (top two inches) over the last seven days from Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations in the region.

Location

Degree Days

Degree Days 5-year average

Rainfall

Rainfall 5-year average

Soil Temp Range

Emmett

71 (+ 48)

96.3

2.36 (+ 0.02)

2.66

50-71

Fairgrove

80 (+ 51)

103.6

2.57 (+ 0.01)

3.51

50-60

Flint

90 (+ 56)

135.9

3.02 (+ 0.00)

4.07

51-57

Frankenmuth

81 (+ 52)

111.7

2.82 (+ 0.01)

4.22

47-53

Freeland

75 (+ 52)

98.2

2.68 (+ 0.02)

4.39

44-51

Lapeer

81 (+ 52)

121.5

3.93 (+ 0.30)

3.62

50-63

Linwood

67 (+ 52)

79.3

3.81 (+ 0.00)

4.72

50-59

Munger

67 (+ 50)

95.3

1.15 (+ 0.01)

3.72

51-65

Romeo

82 (+ 55)

107.8

2.77 (+ 0.00)

2.89

52-76

Sandusky

65 (+ 45)

84.1

3.24 (+ 0.00)

3.54

50-76

Cultivation

MSU has released three videos going in depth with three in-row mechanical weeding tools. Each video focuses on one tool, including flextine harrows, finger weeders, and torsion weeders. Get a hold of Dan Brainard to learn more!

Crops

Asparagus is still below ground.

Red beets have been going in.

Green beans have been going in.

Table stock potatoes have been going in.

Rhubarb has about 4 leaves, 6 inches long.

Sweet corn has been going in, with some under plastic to accelerate germination, and some on bare ground.

Seeded onions and transplanted sweet onions are nearly all planted, and herbicide sprays have been delayed by windy conditions. The transplanted onions coming out of the South have been in good condition this year.

Garlic is usually planted in the fall, two to four weeks before the first hard frost. This gives enough time for cloves to root, but not waste energy on leafing out. This gives the plant a few more months of growth to add mass to bulbs. Some growers are trying spring-planted garlic this year, with some on black plastic. This fits with the planting scheduled of many other annual vegetables, but bulb sizes will be smaller at fall harvest. MSU has two resources on garlic production: Producing Garlic in Michigan (E2722), and the new article “Organic garlic production.”

Heated hoophouse tomatoes are nearing harvest in the earliest plantings. I have received calls about chlorothalonil products for use in greenhouses. Products like Bravo, Equus, and Initiate are popularly used as a broad-spectrum protectant on tomatoes because of their 0-day preharvest interval (PHI), but their labels exclude greenhouse use. Catamaran is a premix of potassium phosphite and chlorothalonil that can be used on many vegetable crops, including tomatoes with a 0-day PHI. The label does not exclude its use in the greenhouse.

Tomato transplants were going in on black plastic yesterday in the region. There is a decision to make as to whether a row cover will be beneficial at this point. The forecast is looking clear for at least another week, but forecasts for late next week show a cool air mass forming over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario that could affect Michigan growers.

Be aware of tomato transplant bacterial issues in the greenhouse. Keep air moving and vented to reduce the amount of time water droplets stay on the leaves. Streptomycin is only labeled for greenhouse use on tomatoes, and is an effective tool for reducing bacterial pressure before field transplanting. You are not allowed to use Streptomycin on field tomatoes, so use it now if it is needed, mixed with copper at the full rates.

Brassica transplants are ready to go at many farms, and plastic is laid. Some transplants in the ground and on wagons were hit by a frost last Sunday, but the damage does not appear to have damaged the growing point, and plants should recover.

Need your water tested for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? Check out the Michigan Ag Water Lab Map: https://tinyurl.com/MIagwaterlabmap

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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