Is your leafy Spinach losing its taste due to bolting, but do not know how to keep it safe from bolting? Well, we got you covered.
Besides, look for slow bolting varieties and their care, like watering and fertilizer application, to keep the Spinach from bolting.
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What Is Spinach Bolting?
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a winter leafy vegetable grown for its lush green leaves. It is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants.
But sometimes, the Spinach sprouts produce flowers and seeds even before lending the fresh leaves for salads and soup, called bolting.
During the bolting, the plant undergoes a series of changes, like elongated stems and the emergence of the flowering stem. The central flowering stem has small yellow flowers, making the Spinach unappetizing.
Further, the sudden focus of Spinach from leaf production to reproduction and seed formation makes the leaves bitter and tough to chew.
Despite being a survival mechanism for the plant to ensure their continuation by seed production, bolting is a negative phenomenon for gardeners and growers.
This is because the early the plant bolts, the less would be the green yield, and quality is compromised.
Why Is My Spinach Bolting So Fast?
Although bolting is a response to unfavorable environments, different crops bolt in response to various types of environmental stress.
For instance, Cabbage, a fellow cole crop, starts bolting when it experiences a prolonged period of cold temperature followed by sudden warming.
While Radishes produce or send up flowering stems due to high temperatures.
But Lettuce, the best friend of Spinach, has similar environmental triggers leading to bolting.
Let’s have a look at the cause of bolting in Spinach.
- High Temperature: As the temperature rises beyond 65°F, it triggers the Spinach to produce seeds prematurely.
- Long Daylight Hours: Since Spinach is a short-day plant, daylight over 10 to 12 hours can induce bolting.
- Plant Maturity: Sometimes, it’s just a mature plant that has reached the flowering and seeding conditions surpassing all the growing stages.
- Nutrient Imbalance: Excessive nitrogen fertilizer promotes vegetative growth at the expense of delaying flowering. While nutrient deficiency diverts the plant into seed production as a survival response.
- Overcrowding: Growing a bunch of Spinach in a tight space causes the plant to struggle for sunlight, water, and nutrients. This further stresses the plant and hastens it to bolt.
How To Keep Spinach From Bolting?
Now that we understand the problem of before-time flowering, you might want to know about the ways to stop or keep Spinach from bolting.
Here are some failsafe tips to keep Spinach from bolting.
- Plant Spinach early in the spring or late in the fall when the temperature is between 50-70°F.
- In regions with mild winter, i.e., in zone 8 to zone 9, plant the Spinach 4 to 6 weeks before the last expected spring frost date. And for zone 10 and zone 11, aim to sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to the fall for an extended harvesting period and delayed bolting.
- You may also provide some shade to prevent the direct incidence of harsh sunlight on the green Spinach leaves.
- Instead of planting all Spinach seeds at once, go for succession planting to ensure a continuous supply of young Spinach. Sow a small amount of seed every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the growing season to avoid simultaneous bolting of all seeds.
- Choose slow-bolting varieties like Indian Summer, Bloomsdale Long Standing, Gazelle, and Avon.
- Provide adequate spacing between the plants to allow good air circulation and prevent overcrowding to minimize stress on the plant.
- Apply a layer of mulch to help regulate soil temperature and retain moisture.
- Harvest the outer leaves regularly while leaving the center to encourage leaf production and keep them from maturing quickly.
From Editorial Team
Avoid Excessive Use of Nitrogen Fertilizer!
Nitrogen is essential for healthy leaf development, but its unrestricted use increases the risk of bolting in Spinach.
Since high nitrogen level shifts the plants towards premature reproduction, focus on using small doses of balanced fertilizer.
All The Best!