How to Keep Your Vegetables from Bolting Too Early

Are you frustrated by your herbs and vegetables bolting before you’ve even had a chance to harvest them?

There are ways to extend their life cycle in summer so you can enjoy them for just a bit longer.

Find out how you can stop the process (or slow it down) and make the most of your flowering crops.

1. Direct-sow your seeds.

Direct sowing eliminates all possibility of transplant shock and allows root systems to develop without disturbance. (Just don’t forget to thin your seedlings to keep them from competing for sun and space.)

2. Avoid buying or transplanting stressed seedlings.

If you buy most of your seedlings from a nursery (particularly if they’re sold in six-packs), make sure you’re not bringing home seedlings that have little chance of developing into healthy mature plants.

3. Choose heat-tolerant or bolt-resistant plant varieties.

Check the plant descriptions for characteristics like “heat resistant,” “bolt resistant,” “slow bolt,” or “heat-tolerant,” especially if you live in a warmer climate or tend to have unpredictable weather in spring.

4. Plant your crops in the right season—or switch to a fall planting.

All vegetable crops—even those that can grow year-round—prefer growing in specific seasons and will have peak flavor and production in these seasons.

5. Cool the soil with a layer of organic mulch.

A 2-inch layer of organic mulch helps insulate plant roots and keep them cool in hot weather. This reduces the amount of heat stress a plant experiences when air and soil temperatures rise, and prolongs the harvest period.

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