Have you ever walked out to your garden intending to harvest heads of broccoli but instead found bouquets of small yellow flowers where your broccoli was?
This overnight change is when plants “go to seed” or what is called “ bolting”. This happens when unfavorable conditions such as warm temperatures, over-fertilizing or under-watering occur causing the plant to attempt to reproduce by making seeds.
Unfortunately, once the plant has bolted the leaves will turn bitter and inedible.
You need to keep an eye on your broccoli, lettuce, spinach, radishes and mustard greens.
Signs of bolting to watch for:
- Plants start to stretch and grow upwards
- Plants shoot up a yellow or white flower
Tips to prevent bolting:
- Plant spring vegetables in early March
- Mulch with straw or cotton burr compost so roots stay cool and happy
- Don’t over-fertilize. Hot fertilizer can trick the plant into thinking the weather is getting warm.
- Water frequently. Distressed plants will go to seed faster if living conditions are not ideal.
Bolted Mustard Greens
Watch our Bolting 101 video to learn more!
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