Southwest Michigan vegetable update – June 10, 2020

Ten days of dry weather helped with field activities.

Striped cucumber beetles
Striped cucumber beetles. Photo by Kristy Graham.


Temperatures for the week at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center ranged from 75 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit for highs and 54 to 67 F for lows. The 50 F degree-day units are at 594 for 2020 compared to 477 for 2019 and 631 for the five-year average. Rainfall across the area for the week was around 0.20 to 0.50 inches. Soil temperatures are averaging in the mid-70 F range.

Field activities

Ten days of dry weather allowed for unhindered planting, transplanting and final field preparation.

Crop reports

Garlic scapes
Garlic scapes. Photo by Rebecca Siegel, CC BY 2.0.

Asparagus harvest will mostly be done this week. Some growers may continue fields through next weekend for local, roadside sales. With the humid conditions, control of rust and purple spot may be warranted for some fields.

Vine crops are under heavy striped cucumber beetle pressure. Feeding of striped cucumber beetle can outright kill young plants and can infect older plants with bacterial wilt. Many commercial seeds come with an insecticide treatment that will kill striped cucumber beetle when the plants are small. If your seed is untreated, you will need to control striped cucumber beetle when there is an average of one beetle per plant for cantaloupe, cucumber and watermelon and five beetles per plant for squash and pumpkin.

Transplanting, staking and tying continues for tomato, pepper and eggplant. Tomato and eggplant transplanting will be complete in the next seven to 10 days. Early planted tomatoes are on their second to third string.

Garlic will soon be producing scapes. These should be removed since bulb size will be reduced if they are left to form. If they are in the pigtail stage, they are tender enough to be marketed. If allowed to straighten out, they will be too fibrous and tough.


Spraying a corn fiield
Photo by Charles Bell, CC BY-SA 3.0

We are entering drift season as many corn and soybean fields will be sprayed for weed control. If you have vegetable crops, especially tomato, next to corn and soybeans, be sure to have “The Talk” with the producer and let them know there is a sensitive crop next to their field and to use caution when they apply their herbicides.

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