How do you know when to call it quits on peas, lettuce, cold weather stuff. What should take its place?
|Swiss chard starting to bolt|
Great question and something I wasn't sure about when I first started growing vegetables.
The quick answer, which applies to many cold weather vegetables is When they start to bolt.
Easy answer... if you know what it means.
But if you're unfamiliar with the term bolt, then it my be confusing.
What does "bolting" mean:To say that a vegetable or herb is bolting means that it is starting to flower. After flowering, it will likely develop seeds.
Heat, longer days, and less water are all triggers for the cold weather vegetables to start bolting.
Lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens will be tough and bitter; radish, turnips, and other root vegetables will become hard and woody.
Cold-weather herbs, like dill and cilantro, are also bolting and setting seed in my garden right now.
Unlike the leafy vegetables, I haven't noticed a flavor difference in the leaves of these herbs when they're bolting.
I continue to harvest these herbs until the leaves are gone, and they have seeds.
Peas don't bolt, but they do start to look pretty sad this time of year. Mine are still producing enough to harvest every week, so I will leave them in for now. If the pea vines are mostly dead and have stopped producing, it's time to call it quits.
|Pea plants looking sad in the heat|
What to do when your vegetables are bolting:Once vegetables and herbs start to bolt, most gardeners will pull them out and toss them into the compost bin. I like to leave some of mine in until they set seed, which I collect and use to start future crops.
|Onion flower spike|
Last year, I shared the types of seeds I started for fall crops.
I got a late start last year, but I still had some stuff to harvest in October and November.
I plan to do even more this year, and will write about that in a future blog post (coming soon).
There's no set date, or a way to predict when spring crops of cold weather vegetables will be done, it's different every year. Hopefully knowing the signs to look for will help you figure out when your cold weather vegetables are done for the season.
Thanks to Matt for the great question! If you have a question, or a gardening topic you would like me to write about, please let me know.
|Lettuce starting to bolt|