Saginaw Bay area vegetable regional report – May 21, 2014

Transplanting has been a mad rush to catch up on dry days. Most warm-season vegetables are going in under plastic protection. Above-normal temperatures and less moisture forecasted for the next week across the region.

A representative snapshot of Bay-area tile drainage dealing with the above average rainfall of the region this spring.
A representative snapshot of Bay-area tile drainage dealing with the above average rainfall of the region this spring.

Michigan State University Extension has been scouting fields and talking to vegetable growers this week across the state. There is a lot of planting still in progress as the wet and cool weather has set growers back on field duties by two to seven days in heat units, or up to two weeks from wet fields. Right now growers need to be sure their greenhouse transplants destined for the fields are staying healthy. Avoid mixing with ornamentals and be watchful of disease problems. Don't irrigate greenhouse plants with a soluble fertilizer if it has been in an open container with any algal growth on the surface. Change up that water.

Also, let your greenhouse plants harden off before transplanting, especially if you are counting on rye strips for wind abatement. The rye is not very tall right now, and won’t provide much protection for new transplants if they are unprotected by hoops or hot caps

Cool-season crops such as cabbage, lettuce, table beets, carrots and onions have been seeded and transplanted over the last three weeks. Planting continues in some areas. Now is the time to start scouting for onion thrips, cabbage whites and diamondback moth. You may need to burn down wind-protection barley in muck-land onions because the barley is growing much faster than the onions in this cool weather. Manage the barley when it is about 4-5 inches, and consider a fly on herbicide if fields are too wet.

Rosemary, mint, thyme and sage herbs are being clipped.

Asparagus is being harvested. We narrowly missed some frost last weekend, May 17-18.

Hothouse rhubarb is being harvested for fresh market and processing.

Cucumbers are flowering in greenhouses and some slicers have been transplanted under protection.

Early greenhouse tomatoes are setting fruit and late varieties are just getting started in seed trays. Field tomatoes are being transplanted, protected and unprotected this week and next. Scout for aphid and bacterial speck pressure in the greenhouse.

Some fresh market peppers have been transplanted, but many processing pepper growers have not.

Vining string beans in greenhouses are about 1 foot high and utilizing trellises. Wax beans and other beans are being seeded and transplanted.

Sweet corn is just breaking ground for those who planted two weeks ago. Corn under plastic is at the five- or six-leaf stage, and will need some slack in the plastic soon. Some folks in clayey soils may have a surface crust to deal with, and a little moisture isn't bad to loosen that up for half a day. Seed corn maggot is a concern in this weather and black cutworm has been bad in Indiana. So, be on the lookout for poor emergence or clipping damage from larvae.

Melons and squash are actively being transplanted on plastic and with hoops or hot caps this week and in the following weeks. Pumpkins are being seeded in greenhouse trays.

Strawberries from last year are blooming. Two-spotted spider mites are active now in well-managed fields. Weedy fields tend to have less mite pressure due to biocontrol.

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