Southwest Michigan vegetable update – May 13, 2020

Freeze events a temporary setback for southwest Michigan producers.


Temperatures for the week at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center ranged from 44 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit for highs and 24 to 41 F for lows. The 50 F degree-day units are at 110 for 2020 compared to 128 for 2019 and 228 for the five-year average, making 2020 the coolest year out of the past five. It was a dry week with only 0.30 inches of rain. Rainfall is 3 inches behind 2019 and 2 inches behind the five-year average. Soil temperatures are in the low to mid-50 F range.

The weather was the big story for the week with freezing temperatures across the area on May 8, 9, 11 and 12. The coldest day was May 9 with temperatures ranging from 19 to 27 F. This damaged unprotected warm season transplants and emerged seedlings. Significant transplant damage was also observed under low tunnels. Replanting activities began on May 11 and 12. Cooler than normal temperatures have continued to delay plant development.

Field activities

Dry weather has allowed producers to continue field preparation on most sites. Growers delayed further planting until the cold weather passed. Many fields have already been fitted with plastic for later planting.

Crop reports

Asparagus harvested was temporarily halted with the freezes. Limited harvest will return by the weekend. However, volume harvest will not resume until next week.

Large-scale potato planting is complete. No emergence has been observed at this time.

Sweet corn appears to have done well since the growing point on most plantings was still below ground level.

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