The recent warm weather has made growing salad rather annoying. The little plants are just reaching a size when they are usable (and should be for the next 6 weeks) when suddenly one morning you find flowering stalks standing there in the middle of the plants rendering the leaves tough and unpleasant. This is bolting.
Bolting is the natural process plants move to at the end of their growing cycle putting all their energy into producing seed. However, in extreme temperatures and overly warm nights, young plants can jump right across the production phase to this end phase.
Salad crops are cool season crops, they do not like summer heat. However, by growing in the shade, protecting plants from direct sun, keeping them well watered and accepting a degree of bolting, gardeners can still produce fresh salad. Indeed, by using the under-used shaded spots in the garden good results can be achieved.
There are some heat tolerant types of lettuce but generally most plants do not react well to extreme heat during their formative stages. In many ways it is better to experiment with types and work with the conditions in the garden moving plants out of direct sun (especially when young) and even using dark corners.
Every garden area is different. Finding the right mix of salad types and using the right spots to grow along with rotating containers can make a difference. Bolting can be slowed by cutting back stalks but really it is better to accept the situation and restart a container quickly having a new crop up and running in a few weeks.
One key point to help prevent bolting is to increase daily picking, this does help keep the plant growing and not reaching its peak. A good tray of salad should last up to 10 weeks. When bolting is an issue it is better to reduce this to 6 weeks and accept replacing trays more regularly. This does mean slightly more work but in return an increased supply of fresh salad can be achieved.
Lettuce Black Seeded Simpson€0.00 View On Original Site
Lettuce Cocarde€0.00 View On Original Site
Lettuce Foglia di Quercia€0.00 View On Original Site
Lettuce Freckles€0.00 View On Original Site
Lettuce Little Leprechaun€0.00 View On Original Site
Lettuce Red Salad Bowl€0.00 View On Original Site