West central Michigan vegetable update – May 15, 2019

Asparagus harvest is finally here in west central Michigan.

Asparagus is up
It sure has been a slow start, but asparagus was finally up and being harvested as of Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Photo by Ben Werling, MSU Extension.


The upcoming week will be warmer with many chances for light to moderate rainfall. The high pressure system present yesterday, May 14, is moving southeast with a weak cold front passing through today, but it has very little moisture to work with. Most areas will receive no or less than 0.10 inch of rain. A low-pressure system will approach from the west and impact the state late Thursday through Friday morning, bringing good chances for showers and thunderstorms. Most areas will receive 0.25-0.5 inch before precipitation comes to an end on Friday. A cold front will move through Friday morning, bringing cool temperatures and drier weather. A warm front will then approach Friday night into Saturday, bringing more chances for rainfall. Late Sunday into early Monday will bring yet another chance for rain. Overall, over the next week, precipitation is predicted to total 0.25-0.75 inch for most of the state, with 0.75-1 inch totals possible in western Michigan.

In the medium term, the ridge in the Jetstream should move west, taking cool weather and northwesterly flow with it, bringing us into a ridge with warmer temperatures and southwesterly flow with chances for rain.

Asparagus harvest had started or was about to start Tuesday, May 14, in Oceana County. Some areas experiences frost early Saturday morning.

Enough degree days have accumulated for asparagus beetle to be active based on data from Oceana and Mason County Enviroweather stations. I have not detected beetles in two Oceana County problem fields I’ve scouted, but keep an eye on your own problem fields. Asparagus beetles have been present in eastern Michigan. Learn about options for control in my MSU Extension article, “Controlling common asparagus beetle during harvest season.”


Carrot planting had progressed on at least one area farm, with plantings of dicing varieties finished last week.

Cole crop planting for cabbage and Brussel sprouts has been underway. Cabbage maggot egglaying was detected Monday at a Hudsonville, Michigan, insecticide trial I am conducting with MSU entomologist Zsofia Szendrei. Conventional growers can protect brassica transplants with at-plant applications of chlorpyrifos. Floating row cover can be very effective for organic growers, but must be placed over the crop shortly after planting on ground that was not planted to brassicas in previous years. Growers should try to gain experience with chlorpyrifos alternatives this year, as the fate of this insecticide remains up in the air.

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