Apr 27th, 2009
Some of my Kale plants look like this…
And they should really look more like this…
Why? because they’ve bolted (or run to seed). Running to seed is when the plant flowers and produces seed prematurely. The reason most planst run to seed is either increasingly warm weather (Lettuce doesn’t like hot weather) or increased light levels (sometimes Spinach, Cabbage and Kales will bolt in early Spring). A few plants will also run to seed if they are short on water and they become stressed (Rocket, or Arugula as it’s called in the States).
One thing is certain; once a plants starts to bolt there’s no stopping it. Lettuce and the like will become inedible. Anyone who has ever eaten a leaf from a bolting lettuce will tell you – it ain’t nice. While the flavour of Spinach and Kale will remain largely unchanged, so you can strip the plant and then compost it.
What I can’t understand (and help me out here if you know why) is that some of my Kale plants have bolted and others haven’t. I’ve treated them the same way, watered them at the same time and they even came from the same seed packet.
Is it really just pot luck? Still, the flowers are pretty and I think I’ll leave the plant in the ground for now – if only for it’s decorative value.
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