Central Michigan vegetable update – May 29, 2019

Planting progress continues to be slow with frequent rain showers and cool weather.

Canada geese in a field
Canada geese can clip newly emerged corn seedlings. Photo by Fred Springborn, MSU Extension.


As I reported last week and the week previous, many soils in central Michigan remain wet with sporadic opportunities to get work done. The well drained sands have been suitable for tillage and planting, but limited progress has been made on the heavier soils. The big story continues to be the weather and the slow warm up. Low air temperatures for the week have been in the 40s and low 50s. Soil temperatures remain quite cool with lows in the 50s. These cool temperatures continue to slow crop emergence of what is planted and slow the drying of soils that remain wet.


Potato planting is continuing to a limited degree on well drained soils. Planting progress remains well behind what many would like to see by more than a week. Some growers are pushing conditions and occasionally planting in less than optimal soil conditions. Emergence has been slow. The potatoes that were planted in early May are now emerging with fair stands for the most part.  

Asparagus harvest is ongoing. Continue to scout for asparagus beetles as activity will likely increase this week.

Pea planting continues. The early planted fields are growing well with two to three trifoliates.

Sweet corn planting is ongoing. First plantings are at V2 on many farms; by the calendar, many are behind schedule, but growth has been slow and this has caused many to slow the pace of planting to avoid having too much crop mature at the same time. The color of this first emerging corn is pale and yellow and is more of a reflection of environmental issues (i.e., cool, rainy cloudy weather) than a nutrient deficiency.

In market gardens, progress continues on well drained soils and continues to stand still on poorly drained soils. On well drained soils, cole crops are transplanted and tomatoes and other crops are going out where soil conditions permit. Table beets are emerging with generally very good stands due to adequate moisture.

Soil conditions are not favorable for snap bean or dry bean planting. Even though the calendar indicated we should be seeing this crop go in, soil temperatures need to increase to promote rapid emergence and avoid root rot issues.


With the cool temperatures, insect activity has been limited. Several species of white grub can now be found just below the soil surface. Continue to monitor recently emerged crops for signs of cutworm feeding and damage. Remember that it is not just cutworms that can clip young seedlings. Canada geese are a notable example of a vertebrae pest that can clip newly emerged corn seedlings.

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