Lettuce is Bolting

Okiedawn OK Zone 7April 6, 2012

So far, it is only one plant---Australian Yellowleaf.

I cannot say I am surprised. Once our day time temps were hitting 88-90 and higher, I figured the lettuce would bolt early. I was hoping it wouldn't bolt this early.

Usually the lettuce doesn't bolt until late May or early June.

None of the other lettuce plants are showing signs of bolting yet, but then this one looked fine yesterday morning and has shot up in height and started forming a seed stalk today.

I hope this early bolting is not a sign of more bolting to come from other cool-season plants.


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One of the varieties in my Mesclun mix is bolting too. The rest seem to be fine. They are even in the cool spot in my garden. Was hoping I could keep them growing longer there. I also planted a bunch last week on the North Side of the house in my flower bed - we'll see it the cooler climate there helps.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 1:34PM
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The lettuce in the greenhouse is bolting, but so far not in the garden. However, I planted dwarf bok choy in the garden and it grew to 3 inches and bolted. It made lovely plants that held for months in the greenhouse last fall. So I won't do that again.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:15PM
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I lost two chinese cabbages to bolting before they even got off the ground! This early warm crap has to stop! Makes us noobs feel like we ain't got a chance... LOL

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I'm hoping the rest of the lettuce plants don't bolt this early. I am not much of a lettuce eater, but Tim loves it so I grow lots and lots for him.

I'm going to pull out each plant that sends up a seedstalk and put a small tomato plant in its place--Red Robin, Yellow Canary, Orange Pixie, Sweet-N-Neat Yellow, Tumbling Tom Jr., etc. I hate to see even 6 or 8 inches of bare ground with nothing growing in it. These are tiny tomato plants that won't get very big. By the time all the lettuce is out, perhaps the tomato plants will fill up that space in that long planter.

If everything bolts early this year, I'll think long and hard next year about planting many cold-season crops out in the garden and likely would focus on growing them in the winter in the greenhouse.

We went through all this early hot weather stuff in the early 2000s and I stopped planting just about all cool-season crops except potatoes and onions. I am about at that point again.

Tractor Lady, My lettuce is on the north side of the detached, barn-style garage, and I have kept it well-watered and shaded on the hottest days, all to no avail. I probably should have shaded it more hours a day than what I did.

While we think of bolting in terms of hot temperatures, the number of hours of daylight a day has something to do with it to. Research has shown lettuce bolts more quickly with more hours of daylight + heat than it does with only heat. It also bolts more quickly if it is dry in combination with the above. Next year I may try it on the north side of the chicken coop, which would get only about an hour of full morning sun early in the day and then dappled shade to full shade for the rest of the day.

Dorothy, My kale looks like it is one step behind the bolting lettuce. I have three kinds growing and they are big and look really good, but they are being subjected to temperatures they don't like. The broccoli and cabbage look good so far, but you know that can change quickly. I've never had cabbage bolt until summer prior to this, but this could be the spring that changes that.

Ezzi, If it is any comfort, the early heat is messing with everybody's gardens....not just the plants of the noobs. We're all suffering through the effects of the early heat together.

I about halfway wish I had ignore all the cool-season crops except potatoes and onions and saved that space for warm-season crops.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 5:12PM
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I was afraid this would happen so the only cool season crops I planted were potatoes and carrots. The potatoes are doing great and so are the carrots, but I think I may move the container the carrots are in so they get more shade in the afternoon. How many hours of sun do they need?


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 7:46PM
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I don't have anything that is doing great, broccoli doing OK, potatoes are just fair, only 5 of the Yukon Gold have come up. The Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage plants are not growing well. The Chinese cabbage look fair but a lot of holes from bugs. Some of my onions are bolting, most are the ones I started from seed last fall(winter onions). At this time the Red Sails lettuce Is the best looking plants in the garden.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 9:54PM
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The kale I planted in the garden last fall is in full flower right now and the spinach next to it is putting up flower stalks. The kale in the greenhouse wil be blooming in a few more days and the lettuce that is still in there is also bolting.

I will be using my greenhouse for cool weather crops through the winter from now on too. This first year was a resounding success without any heat at all and with temps that got into the mid20s a few times.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Leslie, I've grown carrots with as little as 6 hours of direct sun, but haven't grown any with less sun than that so am not sure how much less than 6 hours of sun they would tolerate.

Dorothy, So far my spinach is fine, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will get big enough to harvest before it bolts.

I'm really looking forward to winter gardening in the greenhouse....and summer isn't even here yet.

The whole garden looks great overall if you ignore the bolting lettuce. Today, there are 3 more plants beginning to send up seed stalks. Even the peas that stalled in the heat are regrowing. I hope they get a chance to do something before more heat arrives. This week's weather, exluding Sunday's heat, has been perfect.

Larry, The potatoes in a a 16" high raised bed on my highest ground in the Peter Rabbit garden are the only ones doing well. The ones planted in trenches dug into grade level soil in the main garden are not doing so well. Their trenches filled up with water during two separate 3" rainfalls a couple of weeks apart and I am worried they cannot rebound from staying that wet for so long. Only a few of those look good.

Last year the potatoes were one of my best producers in terms of pounds of harvest per square foot. I don't necessarily think they'll do that this year, though the raised bed potatoes likely will perform pretty well even if the grade level ones don't.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 10:52AM
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