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Cool-season Crops - Lettuce

What you're looking at is life.πŸ’š You won't see this on your lettuce at the grocery store or farmer's market, and there is a good reason for that.

πŸ₯¬ A few weeks back, San Diego's heatwave triggered many of my cool-season crops to get into the mindset of reproduction. By mindset, I mean that many of my plants felt the effects of heat and sun and began to bolt (grow tall) and flower, which leads to seed production. Although early bolting can be a bummer, you've got to admire how nature reacts to the environment and the plant's survival instinct to create the next generation.

πŸ’«β€¨ So, can you still eat your cool-season crops once they have begun to bolt? The answer is yes, but for lettuce, in particular, the texture, look, and taste of the leaves change once this shift occurs, and for these reasons, you most likely will not see them in this state for sale.

🌸 First of all, the plant is now concentrating most of its energy on producing flowers and seeds. Your leaves are getting a little less love and will feel more "tough" and possibly not look as colorful or vibrant.

πŸƒβ€¨ Second, the leaves will have a more bitter flavor. This change in taste is another way for the plant to protect itself from being eaten by critters (humans too, I guess) while trying to create its offspring. (I think this is a cool phenomenon and reminds me that Mother Nature is so smart.)

πŸ’‘Β So, if your plants bolt, it can be a bummer, but you can take advantage of watching these lifecycles unfold before your eyes. When you (and I especially love observing this with kids) start to see the cycles and relationships within nature, it's hard not to appreciate environmental connections. It makes you want to care and protect it that much more! 🌎 (Last few pics are also my bolted broccoli. The bees are super happy to see these pretty yellow flowers.)🐝

#coolseasoncrops #plantlifecycle #makingconnectionswithnature #gardenlessons #gardenenrichment #growwhatyoulove #sharewhatyouknow πŸ’š