Veges that "bolt"

fireduck(10a)May 7, 2014

My cilantro has "bolted" and flowered on the top of the bolted stems. Why do veges bolt? Can I trim back the stems to old growth (before bolt) and expect good growth in the future? thanks

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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

Day length, heat, cold, stress, etc. all cause vegetable and herb plants to bolt. Plus the majority of them are annuals so it's just part of their life cycle.

Can you cut the cilantro back? Yes. Will it accomplish anything? No. It will just flower again. You can either allow it to set seed for the spice coriander or your can pull it and plant more cilantro seed. However, even if you replant fresh seed it will eventually bolt again. Cilantro can be finicky.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 8:16PM
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I figured this one out in 2012, it's not the heat that causes a plant to bolt, but hot soil temperatures. On black bare dirt, the soil temp at a depth of 4 inches approximates the outside air temperature. So on an 80 degree day, on your bare garden dirt, if you take a meat thermometer or soil thermometer out, you'll see that garden dirt is 80 degrees.

Much too hot for cool weather crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, or herbs like cilantro and parsley and lettuce even, they all like to bolt when their roots get too hot.

I put down a bale of hay now around my cool season crops, and I put it down thick enough that the hay catches the sun, not the black dirt.

On the same day when I measured at 4 inches, the soil temps under the heavy mulch was 60 degrees, perfect for cool season crops.

I had 12 broccoli plants that produced so much broccoli and side shoots over the course of the summer, I didn't have to plant a fall crop, I *never stopped harvesting from spring...*

Of course, I watered, but this was in Illinois, in 2012, during the drought. It was Hot, but I kept checking, and so long as the sun was sufficiently kept off the dirt and they got water once a week, they stayed at 60 degrees.

I'll put a link to my blog, I have pictures of it. Ignore the first part of that post about the tomatoes, under that are pictures of the soil temps =)

It was a surreal year, in October, I let the last broccoli heads flower out, and in a real treat of nature, the honey bees were swarming them in the last week of October and November, collecting the very last of the pollen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Broccoli Production

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Bolting broccoli isn't a problem. I agree, mulch heavily and you can harvest and harvest. But, with broccoli, just don't let it bolt... keep harvesting the side shoots when their tight and before they start to flower. It's that simple.

But back to other veggies. Yes, day length(photoperiodism) plays a part with many. But with veggies like tomatoes, beans and cukes, though their short day veggies, you're not going to do well if the temps aren't warm. So, imo, heat plays a much larger role in most cases. So, back to the mulch-- keep the soil cool and you can prolong the inevitable. Not too mention that those veggies I mentioned don't BOLT per se.

As far as cilantro. Yes, it's a sad thing when you can't harvest it anymore, but I actually get more joy out of seeing it flower. I can get a bunch of cilantro at the store for 33 cents. The beneficial insects that flowering cilantro attracts is absolutely priceless.

Rodney: I wasn't aware that if I cut back cilantro it will keep flowering. Where do i cut it? At the next node down?


    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:34PM
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thanks for all the good info! If you have any avocado questions...I am here for you. haha

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:55PM
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fireduck: I'll have to take you up on that offer for sure. I just planted a Kona Sharwil(1st avocado ever) in pretty alkaline soil. I'm hoping the sulfur I added takes hold before the roots outgrow the hole I dug and the compost i filled in around the sides.

Anything else i can do right now to give it a better chance? I'll test the ph again in about 3 months and I'm afraid to add anything like peat right now in fear of the ph being lowered TOO much.


This post was edited by woohooman on Thu, May 8, 14 at 13:15

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 12:43PM
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Kevin, I do have a Sharwil...along with 15 other varieties. The only variety specific info of interest is: this is a great variety that is a "smallish" tree. When planting a small tree there are a couple of "key" issues. They are: use shadecloth to filter hot/drying sun the first year (big heat headed our way Monday). Also, avos love water. Young avos need frequent watering aimed directly at their small "target zone". Long/heavy waterings are not for youngsters. PS Do not be overly concerned or over-compensate for a bit of alkaline ph. No bigee, really. goodluck

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Fireduck: thanks. Yeah. last week when we had the heat, afew leaves got crinkly and dried up. I'll be sure to rig up some shade cloth this time around. It's actually not very young--- 15 gal from the nursery and about 5 feet tall. A few tiny fruit on it also.

Odd that you mention frequent waterings. The guy at the nursery(Atkins, in Fallbrook) told me to give it a nice deep watering and leave it alone for awhile.

Yeah. I wanted a bit smallish because of WHERE it' got planted and I didn't want it to shade TOO much of my main garden plot after 10 years. I also read that the Sharwil is superior quality fruit and was a bit more hardy the the Lamb Hass(also considered). Thinking of getting a Holiday also.

Not too sure I'm buying the ph thing. I was told you want it around 6 and the tree will eventually start rooting into some DG. Right now, the ph is around 7.5. This is what fears me the most. That, and the few freezes we get here every winter. I'm actually in inland San Diego.



    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 9:40PM
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