I was visiting with a gardening friend this past weekend and we were discussing how quickly our spinach and radishes went to seed this year,this is generally referred to as bolting. Bolting occurs when the plant is stressed from either heat waves or cold, once this happens the produce will taste bitter and you will no longer be able to harvest the produce.
This year we had just the right conditions for our cool season crops to bolt early. Some other cool season crops that bolt once the summer heat hits include; arugula, lettuce, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and bok choi.
You can prevent your cool season crops from bolting by planting them early, before the heat of the summer days arrive. Planting the crop under a trellis of another vegetable (next to taller vegetables that can offer some shade) can also help prevent early bolting. Another option would be to use a shade cloth to protect your crop.
The succession sowing method (planting cool season crops every week for up to 6 weeks in spring) is what I will incorporate now as I pull out my spinach and radishes and get ready to plant a fall crop in August.
I enjoy having fresh spinach late into the growing season.
If you are looking for other gardening tips, check out our book, Eating Pure in a Processed Foods World®.