Saginaw Bay area vegetable regional report – May 28, 2014

Growers subject to wet and cool soils are planting warm and cool-season crops together. Extended-stay seedlings in trays are getting cramped.

Cabbage seedlings at various stages of dampening off.
Cabbage seedlings at various stages of dampening off.

Rainfall and growing degree day (GDD) base 50 degrees Fahrenheit accumulations as of May 28, 2014, from Michigan State University Enviro-weather stations at the following Bay and Thumb area vegetable growing regions are as follows:

The average rainfall in most locations isn’t far beyond the five-year average, but has been spaced in such a way that has made optimal soil conditions difficult for continuous planting.

Michigan State University Extension vegetable grower visits are turning up a few disorders related to stress from extended time held in plug trays due to the cool, wet spring. These “leggy” transplants can get too tall and plants on the edge of the seed trays can fall over and block airflow from the plants in the middle of the trays. Damping off can become an issue in this situation. Consider covering them if rainfall is predicted and avoid overwatering inside.

Additionally, with prolonged tray time, seedlings may produce roots that extend beyond the bottom holes of the trays. If they are held above the ground, many plants will “air prune” themselves, but others, like sweet corn, will continue to grow and dangle below the seed trays. Turn the trays on edge and pull these dangling roots off before transplanting to avoid damaging the seedling when attempting to pull the plugs out of the tray. Pinching the stalks of seedlings for a good grip can crush their vascular tissue. Taking out the dangling roots reduces the force needed to remove the plants.

Sweet corn is at various stages throughout the region, with acreage under plastic the farthest along.

Lettuce is continually being planted on muck soils.

Carrots are a bit behind due to weather, but are catching up.

Vine crop and tomato transplanting is in full swing, with and without protection, on and off plastic.

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