One of the problems that I am facing with my crops right now is that a lot of them have bolted. It’s not all of them, but there are a large number of plants that have gone to seed before we were able to harvest anything from them.
If I’m going to be a farmer, I’m going to need to need to be able to harvest some of my crop before it bolts and goes to seed. I’ve been thinking a lot about this.
Why do my crops bolt? Eventually, all plants will bolt and go to seed, but the challenge is to postpone that event as long as possible. Crops bolt early when something isn’t right in their environment. They sense that they don’t have the right conditions to live, so they decide that they need to quickly have ‘plant sex’ and reproduce before they die.
So how do you keep plants happy so they don’t want to have ‘plant sex’ (and end our relationship with them)? Here are a few keys that come to mind:
- Don’t let the plants get too hot. Exposure to heat or drastic changes in temperature will often make plants think that they need to sow their seed to assure the survival of the next generation.
- Keep plants appropriately watered. If plants get dried out, they fear that the drought is going to kill them, so they send out that last ditch effort to reproduce in hopes of the next generation surviving because they aren’t going to without water.
- Prevent competition. If there is too much weed competition… or competition from other crops, the plant will be unable to get the nutrients that it needs. In fear of being smothered by its neighbors, the plant will go for broke and send up a final hurrah in an attempt to create a next generation.
Keep your plants happy without sex; water them regularly, weed around them and don’t let them get too hot. I’m not going to try and satisfy my plants so they don’t have ‘plant sex’ and ruin our perfectly good relationship.