When Crops “Bolt”


I apologize in advance for the terrible pictures, my camera’s battery had to recharge and I didn’t have my usual computer with me.  I promise to fix them soon.

As you know, my cabbages burst up out of the ground and flowered this spring!  We were so excited, we had no idea what was going on, but it was awesome!  Yeah, turns out that’s not so good for the crop-quality of cabbage.  When certain climate conditions are met, crops produce their crops; when other climate conditions are met, that would be ulterior to the crops’ survival, plants believe the world is ending and “bolt” to put out their flowers, spread their seeds, and make sure their species continues.  This is a lot like popping out a baby in the zombie apocalypse.

I was trying to figure out what happened with my cabbages, after their four-foot towers of flowers withered.  (We have high wind here, they were literally trying to uproot themselves.)  Turns out, they bolted.  If I had known, the main stalk should have been trimmed down much earlier, to avoid wasting precious life resources on flowers and seeds.  (Abort that zombie apocalypse baby, save the remaining food supplies for the living!)  At least they brought around bees.

Cabbage 05-07-2016

However, not all is lost, for when babies are born in the zombie apocalypse, they do survive (under some conditions).  So, too, does bolting allow the plants’ lineage to go on, by producing seeds.  That brings us to another lesson I didn’t know.

After a cabbage’s flower towers wither, the little stalks spraying off the main stem then turn into seeds.  As I needed to protect them from falling over, I went ahead and cut these main stems off and gathered all the seed pods from two of my stalks.  Turns out, you should really let them dry on the stem (on the plant, no cutting at all!) until they have dried naturally.  Otherwise, they may not be fully mature.  Once they’ve dried, you have to hurry to harvest them because their seeds will drop on their own and you don’t want to be picking those suckers up by hand.

Now, my onion.  After dealing with the Cabbage Debacle of 2016, I realized my onion looked a lot like it was bolting, too.  So I looked it up and, sure enough.  It hadn’t flowered yet, so I took a pair of scissors to it.  (The article I read online said to trim just beneath the flower or, if the stalk was very thick, to cut at the bottom leaving at least 1 inch of stalk attached.)  The stalk immediately dripped out its little onion life water.  I honestly don’t know if it was good or bad, but I let it drip back down to the onion’s soil and, for science, dissected it!

I hope this post and pictures were helping to any other newb gardeners!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. At least the bees were grateful!


  2. nannygrannie says:

    Wow! Fantastic. I started my own garden this year so I’m looking forward to following. Happy growing :)


    1. kriscious says:

      Happy growing and good luck! I’ve found having my own garden has brought me great pleasure. :D


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