When Veggies Bolt & Herbs Flower
Last year, towards the end of summer, The Garden Center advertised they were selling kalettes. Kalette is a hybrid plant, a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale. The type of kalettes we planted was Autumn Star. We were able to plant them where the cabbage was growing earlier in the summer. Due to our mild winter, the plants did not die and began growing again this spring. We were able to harvest some greens, but then (as it goes in good ole' Indiana) the weather went from cool spring weather to warm summer weather. This, in conjunction with the rain spring brings, caused the plants to grow rapidly and eventually bolt. When the temperature increases quickly, some plants go into survival mode and puts its energy into flowering and producing seeds in order to produce another generation of plants.
Last year after harvesting greens several times, our bok choy bolted. Heather Rhoades, stated in her article, "What Is Bolting: What It Means When A Plant Bolts" that, "Once a plant has fully bolted, the plant is normally inedible." I bent down and tasted a leaf of the autumn star kalette and it had the bitter taste that bolted greens tend to have. I knew it was too late, but I was glad we were able to harvest what we could.
The rain also accelerated the growth of our herbs. Our sage, thyme, and oregano grew rapidly over the last few weeks. I was used to our thyme flowering, but this year was the first time our sage bloomed. I know some herbs, from experience, like cilantro and basil, are just like bolted greens and are useless after the plant begins to grow flowers. I wasn't sure about sage. After some research, I discovered that the blooms are edible and just like thyme you can continue harvesting after the blooms fade away without worrying about the flavor of the herbs changing. I have never used flowers in my dishes, but I'm always up for trying something new.
...and we didn't let those flowers from the bolted kalettes go to waste. We put them in a vase for Mother's day!