Southwest Michigan vegetable update – May 23, 2018

Another cool, wet week continues to slow crop growth and field activities.


It has rained five out of the past seven days for a total of nearly an inch across the area. The amount is not bad, but it is falling on already saturated soil. High temperatures for the week ranged from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and lows from 47 to 54 F. Soil temperatures are still averaging near 60 F. The 50 F degree-day units remain behind 2017 and the five-year average at 279 for 2018, 422 for 2017 and 357 for the five-year average.

Field activity

Rain continues to slow field activity. Many fields still have standing water, making field activity difficult to impossible causing growers to delay harvests or to replant in some cases. Many growers are now behind on site preparation and planting.

Crop reports

Asparagus harvest continues at a slow pace. That will change with the temperatures predicted for the rest of the week.

Early planted sweet corn is 5 to 6 inches tall and is somewhat yellow due to weather conditions. Consider additional nitrogen when sidedressing due to excessive rains. Weed control may not be as good as desired on these plantings. Planting continues for later harvests.

Pepper and tomato transplanting continues in accessible fields. Watermelon and eggplant transplanting has begun.

Earliest peas are at 8 inches with no flowering evident.

Transplanted, tunneled cucumbers are on their fifth to sixth leaf and close to tip over. Tunneled yellow squash and zucchini are on their to fourth to fifth leaf. Early, direct seeded plantings are in the first to second leaf.

Potatoes are at 4 inches

Hop bines are being trained in those fields dry enough for worker activity.


Cool, wet conditions continue to inhibit growth of warm season crops and field activities. With cool, cloudy, wet conditions, little evaporation is occurring, making field activities difficult. On the other hand, transplant survival is high.

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