Michigan State University extension vegetables carrots roots tomatoes greens

Apr 25, 2024
First Michigan vegetable report for 2024 released

As Michigan’s vegetable growers gear up for the 2024 growing season, they face unusual challenges stemming from the warmest winter on record, according to the first weekly report from Michigan State University Extension (MSU).

The report highlighted the impact of above-average temperatures on soil conditions and crop development.

MSU Extension logo“This past winter was the warmest on record with an average December-February temperature over 10º F above-normal,” the report stated. “Soil temperatures were also warmer than normal.”

The warmer conditions have accelerated degree day totals, putting growers roughly one calendar week ahead of schedule for most of Michigan. However, the report warned of potential frost and freezing temperatures, especially in the northern regions, which could affect early plantings.

Vegetable growers are advised to be cautious with herbicide applications, considering variations in soil type and efficacy. The report recommends mechanical means for weed control, particularly for growers utilizing plastic mulch.

“For growers that plant ‘a little of this and a little of that’ on plastic mulch, maintaining weed management across several crop species can be a chore,” the report stated. “It may be worth looking into mechanical means for stirring soil between the beds for incorporation or for weed control itself.”

The report also provided updates on specific crops, including asparagus, brassicas, greens, carrots, celery, fruiting vegetables, onions, root crops, potatoes, sweet corn and strawberries.

“With regular rains, pre-emergent herbicide activation has not been as much of an issue as observed last spring,” the report noted. “Transplants of cabbage and other brassicas have been going in since early April.”

The report highlighted concerns about bacterial diseases in greenhouse-grown tomato and pepper transplants, urging growers to be vigilant in monitoring and managing these issues.

“Troubleshooting is an ongoing process in transplant greenhouses,” the report advised. “Plants showing symptoms of bacterial disease should be immediately removed from the greenhouse and destroyed.”

The report was compiled by Extension personnel including Benjamin Phillips, Benjamin Werling, Chris Galbraith, Salta Mambetova, Lyndon Kelley, Mary Hausbeck, Zsofia Szendrei, Zachary Hayden, Daniel Brainard, Jeffrey Andresen, Vicki Morrone, Jaime Willbur and Jan Byrne.

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