Southwest Michigan vegetable update – June 3, 2020

Cooperative weather has allowed growers to stay on schedule.

Colorado potato beetle
Colorado potato beetle. Photo by Wikimedia Commons :Adámozphoto, CC BY-SA 4.0.


Temperatures for the week at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center ranged from 63 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit for highs and 43 to 66 F for lows. The 50 F degree-day units are at 431 for 2020 compared to 362 for 2019 and 515 for the five-year average. Rainfall across the area for the week was around 0.25 inches. Soil temperatures are averaging in the low 70 F range.

Field activities

Field preparation continues as fields continue to dry out. Planting also continues with little interruption. Growers did hold off transplanting June 2 due to high wind combined with high temperatures. Cooler temperatures forecast for the rest of the week will be good for transplanting.

Crop reports

Asparagus harvest is 80% complete. Some younger fields have had weed control applications and been allowed to fern out. Asparagus beetles continue to be a problem. Several control products have a one-day preharvest interval (PHI) so growers will have to harvest and immediately make an application if they intend to harvest the next day. Growers will also have scout for rust and purple spot since high humidity (rain) and temperatures may contribute to an earlier appearance.

Tunnel-grown yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers are at early bloom, so producers need to remove tunnels allowing bees easy access for pollination. Direct seeding of these crops continues, as does watermelon transplanting.

Transplanting and staking continues for tomato, pepper and eggplant. Tying should start soon. Tunnel-grown peppers are at early bloom.

European corn borer
European corn borer. Photo by Ilia Ustyantsev, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Sweet corn planting continues. In 2019, early sweet corn had a significant European corn borer problem. This was primarily due to the delayed field corn planting, making early sweet corn more attractive to egglaying females. The weather this year allowed for more field corn planting, therefore pressure on sweet corn will not be as great. However, growers still need to be looking for adult activity.

Hops are 3 to 6-7 feet and are being trained up the strings.

Potatoes are at 6 to 8 inches. Colorado potato beetle adults began to show up late last week. Egg masses on underside of leaves should be evident at this time and larvae will be present by the weekend or early next week.

Rhubarb harvest continues.

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